“Control your temper, for anger labels you a fool.” – Ecclesiastes 7:9 NLT (http://bible.com/116/ecc.7.9.NLT)
How many times in my life I have played the fool, and how many more will I before I meet Jesus. I lived much of my life in anger, coming out in sarcasm and biting “humor” and gossip. Not so much now that I have turned my life to God, but my human-ness still comes out at times. James addresses this same thing to the early Christians. Even as we attempt to curb our anger, and our tongues, we fail. We are far from perfect – and I am the furthest from perfection of all mankind.
“If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” – James 1:26-27 NLT (http://bible.com/116/jas.1.26-27.NLT)
“Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way. People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.” –
James 3:2, 7-12 NLT (
In a way, James makes it sound so hopeless of ever having our tongue under control. On our own, even though we might be full of “religion”, we are unable to control it. It is only through Christ Jesus that we can speak without anger and malice.
“But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.” –
James 3:17 NLT (
While I am unable on my own to control my temper and my anger, by surrendering it to Jesus, HE can control it. Allowing the Holy Spirit into my life allows me to let go of those human emotions that used to control me. I was all of these things: “But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.” – James 3:14-16 NLT (http://bible.com/116/jas.3.14-16.NLT)
I can’t even express what a tremendous amount of of guilt and frustration were lifted from my heart by giving these up to Jesus. The immense weight I carried on my shoulders; all of the baggage like hauled around for years…. Gone. All through realizing that my temper and the anger I projected did nothing except hurt me. I was the one who looked the fool when I was busy trying to make everyone else look bad. Temper and anger are incredibly harmful to your physical, emotional, and spiritual life. You might give letting it go a try. I know I feel much lighter – and free.