It happened many years ago, but I still remember the lesson I learned from the near disaster in the Loritts home.
My wife, Karen, and I were arguing, and I had become very angry. I felt that she wasn’t understanding what I was trying to tell her. We weren’t shouting at each other, but the intensity level of the conversation had taken a decidedly upward turn.
I wanted to get out of our apartment to cool off, so I turned to walk out the door. As I did, I passed by our first child, Bryan, a toddler at the time, who was sitting in the middle of the living room floor. I walked out the door and slammed it behind me, and when I did the glass in the door shattered and sprayed around the living room floor.
When I heard the sound of the breaking glass, I felt a wave of panic as I remembered that Bryan was sitting close to the door. I spun around to see that my son was surrounded by shards of glass but that he miraculously was not injured. I can still see him sitting there, jagged pieces of glass mere inches from him.
Crawford, your outburst of anger could have hurt your son very badly, I thought.
I was so grateful that Bryan wasn’t hurt by my tantrum. And I was grateful for the lesson this incident taught me. To this day, whenever I am tempted to engage in an outburst of anger, God brings that scene back to my mind.
We need to make sure we have control over our anger. Although some Bible teachers and preachers might assert that anger itself is a sin, it is a God-given emotion that has its place in a godly life, as long as it is kept under control. Anger becomes sin when we lose control of it—when it controls us.
This kind of anger—anger that is based on human emotion and not on godly wisdom—is poison to relationships of all kinds. Marriages, friendships, business partnerships, and parent-child relationships suffer and even die when uncontrolled anger is allowed to enter the picture. The apostle James had this to say about anger:
This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger, for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God (James 1:19-20).
In other words, you can save yourself a lot of trouble if you keep your ears open, your mouth closed, and your temper under control.
We will keep our anger under control when we learn to lend an ear to a situation, then respond appropriately. When we keep quiet and patiently listen to the facts, we keep ourselves from flying off the handle, or reacting in unwarranted and ungodly anger. In short, we must make sure we respond to the facts and avoid reacting emotionally to what we see.
Before you allow yourself to get angry, take a deep breath, count the cost of the anger, submit your anger to the ruling of the Holy Spirit, then respond as He would have you respond. When you do these things, you’ll find yourself wasting a lot less valuable time and emotion on useless anger.
Used with permission from Lessons From a Life Coach by Crawford Loritts, Moody Publishers, ©2001.