Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2


Chapter 56—Anger

Anger Opens the Heart to Satan—Those who at any supposed provocation feel at liberty to indulge anger or resentment are opening the heart to Satan. Bitterness and animosity must be banished from the soul if we would be in harmony with heaven.—The Desire of Ages, 310 (1898). 2MCP 516.1

Servants of Sin—“His servants ye are to whom ye obey” (Romans 6:16). If we indulge anger, lust, covetousness, hatred, selfishness, or any other sin, we become servants of sin. “No man can serve two masters” (Matthew 6:24). If we serve sin, we cannot serve Christ. The Christian will feel the promptings of sin, for the flesh lusteth against the Spirit; but the Spirit striveth against the flesh, keeping up a constant warfare. Here is where Christ's help is needed. Human weakness becomes united to divine strength, and faith exclaims, “Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57)!—RH, May 3, 1881. (The Sanctified Life, 92, 93.) 2MCP 516.2

Anger Born of Sensitive Morals—It is true there is an indignation that is justifiable, even in the followers of Christ. When they see that God is dishonored and His service brought into disrepute, when they see the innocent oppressed, a righteous indignation stirs the soul. Such anger, born of sensitive morals, is not a sin.—The Desire of Ages, 310 (1898). 2MCP 516.3

The Anger of Moses—The breaking of the tables of stone was but a representation of the fact that Israel had broken the covenant which they had so recently made with God. It is a righteous indignation against sin, which springs from zeal for the glory of God, not that anger prompted by self-love or wounded ambition, which is referred to in the scripture “Be ye angry, and sin not.” Such was the anger of Moses.—The Review and Herald, February 18, 1890. (Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 101.) 2MCP 517.1

Christ's Holy Wrath—Christ's indignation was directed against the hypocrisy, the gross sins, by which men were destroying their own souls, deceiving the people and dishonoring God. In the specious deceptive reasoning of the priests and rulers He discerned the working of satanic agencies. Keen and searching had been His denunciation of sin, but He spoke no words of retaliation. He had a holy wrath against the prince of darkness, but He manifested no irritated temper. So the Christian who lives in harmony with God, possessing the sweet attributes of love and mercy, will feel a righteous indignation against sin; but he will not be roused by passion to revile those who revile him. Even in meeting those who are moved by a power from beneath to maintain falsehood, in Christ he will still preserve calmness and self-possession.—The Desire of Ages, 619, 620 (1898). 2MCP 517.2

Some People Nurse Wrath—Many look at things on their darkest side; they magnify their supposed grievances, nurse their wrath, and are filled with revengeful, hateful feelings, when in truth they had no real cause for these feelings.... Resist these wrong feelings, and you will experience a great change in your association with your fellowmen.—The Youth's Instructor, November 10, 1886. 2MCP 517.3

Impatience Produces a Baleful Harvest—What harm is wrought in the family circle by the utterance of impatient words, for the impatient utterance of one leads another to retort in the same spirit and manner. Then come words of retaliation, words of self-justification, and it is by such words that a heavy, galling yoke is manufactured for your neck; for all these bitter words will come back in a baleful harvest to your soul.—The Review and Herald, February 27, 1913. (The Adventist Home, 439.) 2MCP 518.1

Hard words beat upon the heart through the ear, awakening to life the worst passions of the soul and tempting men and women to break God's commandments.… Words are as seeds which are planted.—Letter 105, 1893. (The Adventist Home, 439.) 2MCP 518.2

Among the members of many families there is practiced the habit of saying loose, careless things; and the habit of tantalizing, of speaking harsh words, becomes stronger and stronger as it is indulged, and thus many objectionable words are spoken that are after Satan's order and not after the order of God.... Burning words of passion should never be spoken, for in the sight of God and holy angels they are as a species of swearing.—The Youth's Instructor, September 20, 1894. (The Adventist Home, 439.) 2MCP 518.3

The First Three Years of a Child's Life—Let selfishness, anger, and self-will have its course for the first three years of a child's life, and it will be hard to bring it to submit to wholesome discipline. Its disposition has become soured; it delights in having its own way; parental control is distasteful. These evil tendencies grow with its growth, until in manhood supreme selfishness and a lack of self-control place him at the mercy of the evils that run riot in our land.—The Health Reformer, April, 1877. (Temperance, 177.) 2MCP 518.4

Never Discipline in Anger—God has a tender regard for the children. He wants them to gain victories every day. Let us all endeavor to help the children to be overcomers. Do not let offenses come to them from the very members of their own family. Do not permit your actions and your words to be of a nature that your children will be provoked to wrath. Yet they must be faithfully disciplined and corrected when they do wrong, but never in anger.—Manuscript 47, 1908. 2MCP 518.5

A parent gives way to temper before the child and then wonders why the child is so difficult to control. But what could he expect? Children are quick to imitate, and the child is but putting into practice the lessons taught him by his parents in their outbursts of anger 2MCP 519.1

You may have to punish your child with the rod. This is sometimes essential. But never, never strike him in anger. To correct him thus is to make two wrongs in trying to cure one. Defer the punishment till you have talked with yourself and with God. Ask yourself, Have I submitted my will to God's will? Am I standing where He can control me? Ask God to forgive you for transmitting to your child a disposition so difficult to manage. Ask Him to give you wisdom that you may deal with your wayward child in a way that will draw him nearer to you and to his heavenly Father.—The Review and Herald, July 8, 1902. 2MCP 519.2

Violent Emotions Endanger Life—The giving way to violent emotions endangers life. Many die under a burst of rage and passion. Many educate themselves to have spasms. These they can prevent if they will, but it requires willpower to overcome a wrong course of action. All this must be a part of the education received in the school, for we are God's property. The sacred temple of the body must be kept pure and uncontaminated, that God's Holy Spirit may dwell therein.—Letter 103, 1897. (Our High Calling, 265.) 2MCP 519.3

The Fruitage of Each Outburst of Anger—One class have come up without self-control; they have not bridled the temper or the tongue; and some of these claim to be Christ's followers, but they are not. Jesus has set them no such example.... They are unreasonable and not easily persuaded or convinced. They are not sane; Satan for the time has full control. Every one of these exhibitions of wrath weakens the nervous system and the moral powers and makes it difficult to restrain anger on another provocation.—The Youth's Instructor, November 10, 1886. (Sons and Daughters of God, 142.) 2MCP 519.4

Intoxicated With Wrath—How Satan exults when he is enabled to set the soul into a white heat of anger! A glance, a gesture, an intonation, may be seized upon and used as the arrow of Satan to wound and poison the heart that is open to receive it.—The Signs of the Times, September 21, 1888 2MCP 520.1

When one once gives place to an angry spirit, he is just as much intoxicated as the man who has put the glass to his lips.—Manuscript 6, 1893. 2MCP 520.2

Christ treats anger as murder... Passionate words are a savor of death unto death. He who utters them is not cooperating with God to save his fellowman. In heaven this wicked railing is placed in the same list as common swearing. While hatred is cherished in the soul there is not one iota of the love of God there.—Letter 102, 1901. (Our High Calling, 235.) 2MCP 520.3

Petulant Man Is Seldom Content—No one else can lessen our influence as we ourselves can lessen it through the indulgence of uncontrollable temper. A naturally petulant man does not know true happiness and is seldom content. He is ever hoping to get into a more favorable position or to so change his surroundings that he will have peace and rest of mind. His life seems to be burdened with heavy crosses and trials, when, had he controlled his temper and bridled his tongue, many of these annoyances might have been avoided. It is the “soft answer” which “turneth away wrath.” Revenge has never conquered a foe. A well-regulated temper exerts a good influence on all around; but “he that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.”—Testimonies for the Church 4:367, 368 (1879). 2MCP 520.4

Easier to Be Uninhibited Before a Crowd—It is worse, far worse, to give expression to the feelings in a large gathering, firing at anyone and everyone, than to go to the individuals who may have done wrong and personally reprove them. The offensiveness of this severe, over-bearing, denunciatory talk in a large gathering is of as much more grave a character in the sight of God than giving personal, individual reproof, as the numbers are greater and the censure more general. It is ever easier to give expression to the feelings before a congregation, because there are many present, than to go to the erring and, face-to-face with them, openly, frankly, plainly state their wrong course. 2MCP 520.5

But bringing into the house of God strong feelings against individuals and making all the innocent as well as the guilty suffer is a manner of labor which God does not sanction and which does harm rather than good. It has too often been the case that criticizing and denunciatory discourses have been given before a congregation. These do not encourage a spirit of love in the brethren. They do not tend to make them spiritually minded and lead them to holiness and heaven, but a spirit of bitterness is aroused in hearts. These very strong sermons that cut a man all to pieces are sometimes positively necessary to arouse, alarm, and convict. But unless they bear the especial marks of being dictated by the Spirit of God they do far more injury than they can do good.—Testimonies for the Church 3:507, 508 (1880). 2MCP 521.1

Reason Dethroned by Anger—I hope you will go over the ground carefully and consider your first temptation to depart from the rules of the college. Study critically the character of the government of our school. The rules which were enforced were none too strict. But anger was cherished; for the time being reason was dethroned and the heart was made a prey to ungovernable passion. Before you were aware, you had taken a step which a few hours previous you would not have taken under any pressure of temptation. Impulse had overcome reason, and you could not recall the injury done to yourself nor to an institution of God. Our only safety under all circumstances is in being always master of ourselves in the strength of Jesus our Redeemer.—Testimonies for the Church 4:431 (1880). 2MCP 521.2

Retaliation Brings Only Evil—Far better would it be for us to suffer under false accusation than to inflict upon ourselves the torture of retaliation upon our enemies. The spirit of hatred and revenge originated with Satan and can bring only evil to him who cherishes it. Lowliness of heart, that meekness which is the fruit of abiding in Christ, is the true secret of blessing. “He will beautify the meek with salvation” (Psalm 149:4).—Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 17 (1896). 2MCP 522.1

When Irritated, Refuse to Speak—Let those who are easily irritated refuse to retaliate when words that vex them are spoken. Let them seek the Lord in prayer, asking Him to show them how to work for souls perishing in sin. He who keeps busy in this work will be so thoroughly imbued with the Spirit of God that his manners, his voice, his whole life, will be a revelation of Christ. Try it, brethren, try it. Crucify self, in the place of seeking to crucify your brethren. “If any man will come after Me,” Christ said, “let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24).—Letter 11, 1905. 2MCP 522.2

Anger Met by Silence—There is a wonderful power in silence. When impatient words are spoken to you, do not retaliate. Words spoken in reply to one who is angry usually act as a whip, lashing the temper into greater fury. But anger met by silence quickly dies away. Let the Christian bridle his tongue, firmly resolving not to speak harsh, impatient words. With the tongue bridled, he may be victorious in every trial of patience through which he is called to pass.—The Review and Herald, October 31, 1907. (Messages to Young People, 135, 136.) 2MCP 522.3

Cultivate a Conciliatory Spirit—In regard to your present relations with the church I would advise that you do all that can be done on your part to come into harmony with your brethren. Cultivate a kind, conciliatory spirit and let no feeling of retaliation come into your minds and hearts. We have but a little time in this world, and let us work for time and for eternity. Be diligent to make your calling and election sure. See that you make no mistake in regard to your title to a home in Christ's kingdom. If your name is registered in the Lamb's book of life, then all will be well with you. Be ready and anxious to confess your faults and forsake them, that your mistakes and sins may go beforehand to judgment and be blotted out.—Testimonies for the Church 5:331 (1885). 2MCP 522.4

Uncontrollable Temper May Be Conquered—The teachings of Christ carried into the life will elevate men, however humble in the scale of moral worth with God. Those who strive for the subduing of their natural defects of character cannot be crowned unless they strive lawfully; but those who are found often in prayer, seeking for the wisdom that cometh from above, will become assimilated to the divine. Uncouth manners, uncontrollable temper, will be brought into obedience to the divine law.—Letter 316, 1908. 2MCP 523.1

Resist Angry Feelings—There is only one remedy—positive self-control under all circumstances. The effort to get into a favorable place, where self will not be annoyed, may succeed for a time; but Satan knows where to find these poor souls and will assail them in their weak points again and again. They will be continually troubled so long as they think so much of self.... But there is hope for them. Let this life, so stormy with conflicts and worries, be brought into connection with Christ, and then self will no longer clamor for the supremacy.... They should humble themselves, saying frankly, “I have done wrong. Will you forgive me? For God has said we must not let the sun go down upon our wrath.” This is the only safe path toward overcoming. Many ... nurse their wrath and are filled with revengeful, hateful feelings.... Resist these wrong feelings, and you will experience a great change in your association with your fellowmen.—The Youth's Instructor, November 10, 1886. (Sons and Daughters of God, 142.) 2MCP 523.2