DAILY DEVOTIONAL – June 28, 2021
Prayer: You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness (Psalm 86:15). Have mercy on us, forgive us for our impatience with others, and strengthen us by Your Spirit, and in Your Word, to share the grace and patience You have given to us. In Jesus name, amen.
Scripture – Proverbs 15:1
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger”
Devotional – “dAnger”
It’s hard to heed the wisdom of our text from Proverbs, isn’t it? “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” As hard as it may be, there are many good reasons we should strive to discipline our emotions as disciples of Christ.
First, because we are disciples, we must remember that though there were certainly times when Jesus expressed righteousness indignation and anger, that is not why people flocked to see Him nor is that what made people believe that He was telling the truth. It was Christ’s compassion and patience and mercy that changed the world then, and it is that same compassion and patience and mercy that will continue to make the biggest impact on people. The book of Proverbs puts it this way in chapter 25:21-22, “If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink, for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.”
In the second place, doing our best to have a gentle response, even in our anger, is better for us. Psalm 37:8 says, “Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.” Though it may temporarily make us feel better to vent our frustrations, in the end we never really feel better, and we haven’t really done anything but increase the chance of receiving anger ourselves. As Proverbs 15:1 says, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” The words of Charles Spurgeon are also good advice to hear and heed, “Do nothing when you are out of temper, and you will have less to undo. Anger does a man more hurt than that which made him angry.”
Finally, we should remember that it is not our place to avenge or set other people in their place. If people do respond to our angry outbursts, it’s only because they don’t want anything more to do with us, not because we have changed their mind with anger. James 1:20 reminds us, “The anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
I am the first to admit that this kind of emotional discipline over our anger is very difficult. We cannot do it ourselves. Our ability to respond to frustrating situations with grace is to first remember the grace given to us and the patience the Lord has with us, and not just remember, but walk continually in His grace and experience that grace each day through a life of prayer and a life lived in the Word of God that Jesus says is the power to sanctify our life (John 17:17).
So, keep calm my friends, we have every reason not to sweat the small stuff, because God has forgiven yesterday, is with us today, and has already taken care of tomorrow. Amen.