A few years ago, my brother shared in interesting scene with me from the TV show "The Candid Camera Show."
The show had set up a situation where a small vendor displayed a sign announcing "NO CHANGE GIVEN." As people stopped by to buy an item, the vendor would hand their change back in bills only - no change. If the order amounted to $4.22, they would receive $5.00 change from a ten.
Most everyone was very upset when they realized they were being cheated.
Several people became furious, calling this whole scheme ludicrous.
However, one man politely accepted his short-changed return and walk off without incident. When the host stopped the guy and asked about his non-reaction, he gave the simple answer, "I don't let people rent space in my head." He explained that the .78 cents he lost was not worth creating any anger in his head. He refused to allow others to rob him of his joy.
I have no knowledge of this man's relationship with God, but his reaction is something that we should consider. In a day when people become angry about anything and everything, we must constantly be on guard. Road rage, lawsuits and bigotry besiege us from all directions. God's word provides us with plenty of instruction on anger…
17" `Do not hate your brother in your heart.
31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
Pretty simple instruction, yes? I love it when I hear people say to do something just because God says so! I hear it all the time - do it because God says to do it! Before I get in trouble, let me say that I agree. However, if I give them a simple "just because," how likely will they follow the advice? If they are rock solid Christians, they will probably listen and obey. But what if they are struggling, lacking a deep faith? How effective does "just because" work with this person, who really needs to understand the most?
For this reason, I always try to find the deeper answer, the "how to."
Sure God says to "do it." However, the Lord has a good purpose for everything He tells us to do and He never leaves us hanging out there with no help. So the real question is, "How do I avoid anger?"
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
8He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Repeatedly, God's word shows us that to rid ourselves of ungodly things, we must fill ourselves with godly things. To rid ourselves of anger, requires action and assertiveness on our own part. We must walk daily, keeping in step with the Spirit, walk humbly with God and allow Him to influence us. I have to put forth effort to concentrate on these things. I must consciously walk with the Spirit, seeking His presence in everything I do. While driving, while working, and while playing, I cannot forget who is with me.
If I am not able to walk with God, there is a problem with me, not God. The only thing that can hinder walking with Him is disobedience. disobedience blinds me. For this reason, I must daily confess my sin, renew my relationship with God and seek His face.
Something happens when I am cleansed of my own inequity. My soul is cleaned out and emptied. It is at this point that the Spirit is able to fill me with Himself. I cannot be filled with the Spirit while being filled with myself.
His word says that darkness and light cannot coexist in the same room.
Daily cleansing allows us to walk closer and closer to Him. The things of God slowly fill us. Then, without notice, the things we are filled with begin to flow from us. Anger is not one of them. It has been replaced with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
One more reminder…
1 Peter 4:
12Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.
Been insulted for Christ's sake? Do not retaliate in anger. Simply be overjoyed because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you and you are truly blessed!