Read Proverbs 19:11
“Don’t pick fights! Don’t pick fights!” we tell our children. But is that entirely accurate advice? The idea is right. We shouldn’t be brawlers or trouble makers, but we should definitely “pick” our fights rather than have them picked for us. By pick I mean choose. Do you choose your battles wisely? How much time have you wasted fussing over silly things? How many real battles have you ran from when God could’ve been honored if you had took a stand?
Anger, like all our emotions, was created by God. Throughout the Bible God was often angry. What do you think that whole flood thing was about? Anger was intended to help us fight evil in the world. God wants us to be angry at sin like Jesus was.
Jesus wasn’t a weakling walking around with a lamb in His arms all the time. Our Lord was fearless and brave. He wouldn’t tolerate the Pharisees hypocrisy and He told them so. “Woe unto you Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites,” he boldly says in Matthew 23. He said it right to their faces too! He was sinless in His anger, though. Unfortunately, most of us wind up sinning because of our anger. That’s why we are told in Ephesians 6:26… “Be angry and sin not.” Anger is a motivator. It should motivate you to speak out against wrong.
In Matthew 21:12 Jesus went into the temple in Jerusalem and when he saw merchants were using the church to make money He became angry. “And Jesus went into the temple of God and cast out all that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of them that sold doves.” I don’t know about you, but He sounds angry to me. He was not sinning, though. He chose that battle. He evaluated the situation and decided this was worth fighting for.
There are times when God wants us to fight, not with our fists, but to speak up, battle against evil. If we are told in Ephesians 6 to put on the “whole armor of God” then there must be some fighting going on. Anger can give you the courage to stand up against pressure when people want you to do wrong. It gives you courage to speak out when you see others doing wrong. When Christian activists are protesting evils in our country, such as abortion or child abuse, they aren’t out there because it’s fun. It’s because they’re angry.
Wisdom knows what is worth fighting for. Proverbs 19:11 “The discretion of a man deferreth his anger and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.” Wisdom will turn your angry away from silly, petty things. In Mark 14:65 we see Christ choosing not to fight right before His crucifixtion. “And some began to spit on him and to cover his face and to buffet him.” In this battle He he reacted differently. He chose not to fight. Wisdom is knowing when to fight and when not to.
So here’s the deal: what is important enough to fight about? Ask yourself these three questions to help decide:
- Will this matter in a hundred years? If you’re a Christian you’ll be in Heaven in a hundred years. Would this fight have changed the outcome of eternity for you or someone else?
- Are you just angry over hurt feelings? Fighting over hurt feelings is an incredible waste of time and very un-Christ like.
- Will this help or hurt my witness for Christ? In 2 Timothy 4:7 Paul says, “I have fought a good fight.” Paul fought a good fight for Christ, not himself. Are you fighting a good fight or just bickering?
The world is watching us and deep down they want to see a good example. Anger is a natural part of us, use it to pick your fights wisely.