At our recent men’s retreat, we were taught the principle of mortifying sin and the flesh by Stuart Scott. I thought back to that event when I read the following statement this afternoon from John Piper:
“In marriage, anger rivals lust as a killer. My guess is that anger is a worse enemy than lust. It also destroys other kinds of camaraderie. Some people have more anger than they think, because it has disguises. When willpower hinders rage, anger smolders beneath the surface, and the teeth of the soul grind with frustration. It can come out in tears that look more like hurt. But the heart has learned that this may be the only way to hurt back. It may come out as silence because we have resolved not to fight. It may show up in picky criticism and relentless correction. It may strike out at persons that have nothing to do with its origin. It will often feel warranted by the wrongness of the cause. After all, Jesus got angry (Mark 3:5), and Paul says, ‘Be angry and do not sin’ (Ephesians 4:26). However, good anger among fallen people is rare.” [“Kill anger before it kills you or your marriage.”]
For many men, one of the significant sins they need to mortify is anger. It is often acknowledged that lust is one of the significant common sins of men; but anger may be just as prevalent, though few will recognize or admit it as quickly as they admit to lust. In some ways, lust has become an “acceptable” sin in that men will readily admit the weight of the temptation and nod their heads in agreement about circumstances when it is difficult to keep from lusting. But far fewer will acknowledge their temptation to the many forms of anger.
We do well to read Piper’s statement again and search our hearts (and ask our wives and children) if they see regular evidences of an angry heart. And then we must get busy at the task of killing this sin that will destroy our relationships and homes.