Morning July 13, edited from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening
“Do you have good reason to be angry?” — Jonah 4:9
Anger is not always or necessarily sinful, but it has such a tendency to run wild that whenever it displays itself, we should be quick to question its character, with this inquiry, “Do you have good reason to be angry?” It may be that we can answer, “YES.” Very frequently anger is a madman’s firebomb, but sometimes it is Elijah’s fire from heaven. We choose rightly when we are angry with sin, because of the wrong which it commits against our good and gracious God; or with ourselves because we remain so foolish after so much of God’s instruction; or with others when the sole cause of anger is the evil which they do. He who isn’t angry at transgression becomes a participant in it. Sin is a detestable and hateful thing, and no renewed heart can patiently endure it. God himself is angry with the wicked every day, and it is written in His Word, “Hate evil, you who love the Lord.”
Far more frequently we must be concerned that our anger is not commendable or even justifiable, and then we must answer, “NO.” Why should we be irritated with children, agitated with coworkers, and angry with companions? Is such anger honorable to our Christian beliefs, or glorifying to God? Is it not the old evil heart seeking to gain dominion, and shouldn’t we resist it with all the might of our newborn nature? Many believers give way to their temper as though it were useless to attempt resistance; but let the believer remember that he must be a conqueror in every point, or else he cannot be crowned. If we cannot control our tempers, what has grace done for us? Someone told John Jay that grace was often grafted on a crab-stump (a twisted, gnarled stump). “Yes,” said he, “but the fruit will not be crabs.” We must not make natural tendencies an excuse for sin, but we must run to the cross and pray the Lord to crucify our tempers, and renew us in gentleness and meekness after His own image.