I have this idea that if I get sufficiently angry with a person, I can get them to change. If I raise my voice to a high enough decibel level, my children will get the point, repent of their sin, and be healthy, happy, productive members of the family. If I communicate forcefully, and with enough fury, my friend will stop looking at the porn that is destroying his life. If I give someone the silent treatment long enough, they will be brought to their knees in sorrow.
Anger never works the way I think it will. It never produces the expected response. My anger makes my children more angry. My forceful, angry arguments, only push my friends further away. My silent treatment results in me further severing a relationship. Why is this the case? Why does anger feel so right and end up so wrong?
James nails it when he says, “…for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:20).
Bam. That’s it. The nail in the coffin.
Anger never produces godliness. Ever. Period. End of story.
Raise your voice all you want. Get all up in the face of your friend. Do the silent treatment dance for three weeks straight. It won’t work. Your child may shut up, but she won’t be brought any closer to Jesus. Your friend may be shamed into giving up porn for a time, but he won’t experience true heart change.
As parents, friends, and fellow Christians, we must resist the temptation to explode in anger. We must extinguish the idea that anger somehow leads to righteousness.
Anger doesn’t produce change. Rather, we speak the truth in love, letting our words be clothed in humility and gentleness. That’s how God’s kingdom works. It’s all backwards. Hearts are won with kindness and gentleness, not fury and wrath. After all, isn’t that how Jesus won your heart?