The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Seeing Anger’s Cause

Today’s Scripture: Genesis 4:6

“The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry?””

In facing up to our anger, we need to realize that no one else causes us to be angry. Someone else’s words or actions may become the occasion of our anger, but the cause lies deep within us—usually our pride, selfishness, or desire to control.

We can choose how we’ll respond to the sinful actions of others toward us. Consider Peter’s words to slaves in the first-century churches, who often served under cruel masters. We might think they would be justified in their anger, but Peter told them, “Be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. If when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God” (1 Peter 2:18-20).

Peter’s instructions to slaves are a specific application of a broader scriptural principle: In responding to any unjust treatment, we’re to be “mindful of God”—to think of his will and his glory. How would God have me respond in this situation? How can I best glorify God by my response? Do I believe this difficult situation or unjust treatment is under God’s sovereign control, and that in his infinite wisdom and goodness he’s using these difficult circumstances to conform me more to the likeness of Christ? (See Romans 8:28; Hebrews 12:4-11.) I’m realistic enough to know that in the emotional heat of a tense situation, we won’t go through a checklist of questions such as these. But we can and should develop the habit of thinking this way. (Excerpt taken from Respectable Sins)

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