A passenger boarded a Los Angeles to New York plane and told the flight attendant to wake him up and make sure he got off in Dallas. The passenger awoke just as the plane was landing in New York. Furious, he called the flight attendant and demanded an explanation. The attendant mumbled an apology and, in a rage, the passenger stomped off the plane.
“Boy, was he ever mad!” another crew member observed to her errant colleague.
“If you think he was mad,” replied the flight attendant, “you should have seen the guy I put off the plane in Dallas!”
Professor David Seamands says that “Anger is a divinely implanted emotion. Closely allied to our instinct for right, it is designed to be used for constructive spiritual purposes. The person who cannot feel anger at evil is a person who lacks enthusiasm for good.”
So there are times when we see injustice or cruelty and it is appropriate to get angry. Even Jesus expressed anger when he saw the condition of the temple under the money changers. However, it’s important that we control anger rather than allowing anger to control us.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said: “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment.” (Matthew 5:21-22)
According to Jesus’ teaching, it is better to live in peace with others than to live with anger in our hearts. Anger is like the ingredient yeast: only a little is needed and the bread will rise. In the same way, just a small bit of anger can have a huge effect, moving into every part of our lives, changing how we see things and stopping us knowing true peace.
Jesus encourages us to settle any matter quickly with others so that our hearts will be at peace. Don’t let anger rise in your spirit; it always has a deadly effect.