Ephesians 4:31 (KJV): “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.”
COMMENTARY: All of us can look back on our work lives and recall moments when weren’t exactly “at our best.” Moments when we lost our composure. Perhaps an outburst of anger at another driver on the road. An outburst of anger with a supplier, co-worker, employee, manager, or member of the general public.
Fortunately, as I look back at my nearly 50 years in the workplace, I don’t have too many of these moments. But the ones I’ve had, I’ve regretted. In a moment of weariness, weakness, exasperation, frustration, exhaustion, or hunger, I’ve verbally lashed out in anger.
The word “anger” appears 229 times in the KJV Bible, mostly in the “Old” Testament. In reviewing these passages, I was surprised how many times “anger” is used in the context of provoking the Lord to anger. I didn’t make an official count, but I’d estimate about half the time. Other uses of anger pertain to interpersonal relationships, such as Esau with Jacob, Jacob with Rachel, Moses with Aaron, Eliab with David, and Saul with Jonathan.
The word “anger” appears just five times in the “New” Testament. Twice, it refers to Jesus’ anger over the hardness of Jewish hearts and the foolishness of Israel. The other three passages pertain to Christ-followers, instructing us to put off anger ourselves and for fathers not to provoke their children to anger.
APPLICATION: We all have “hot buttons,” myself included. One of mine is dealing with people whom I perceive to be unreasonable. People who constantly beat me up on price, have ridiculous project timelines or expectations, exhibit a consistently critical spirit, play nonsensical and manipulative political games, or operate in a perpetual state of chaos and crisis. Perhaps you can relate.
You know when you are starting to boil. You know it mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. You’re like a volcano on the verge of erupting. Like lava, angry words are seemingly coming up your throat, ready to spew out of your mouth.
At that exact moment, if you let Him, the Holy Spirit can give you divine self-control to restrain yourself and stop. At that critical moment, humble silence is golden. You never have to regret and ask for forgiveness for angry words never spoken. Put away that anger before it erupts!
For Further Exploration
For further exploration about 1 Timothy 6:9-10 (KJV), read Godliness With Contentment Is Great Gain (1 Timothy 6:3-10, 17-19) from the Theology of Work Bible Commentary.