Anger Starts in the Heart
"Whatever is in your heart determines what you say." Matthew 12:34b (NLT)
A problem with anger isn't going to be solved by a trip to the doctor or an episode of "Dr. Phil" or a self-help book. The real secret to managing anger is God's power to change you on the inside. Romans 15:5 says, "May the patience and encouragement that come from God allow you to live in harmony with each other the way Christ Jesus wants" (NCV).
How does God help you with your bad habit of anger? He goes straight to the heart of the problem, which is a problem in the heart. Anger doesn't start in your behavior, your background, or your feelings. It starts in the heart.
The Bible says, "Whatever is in your heart determines what you say" (Matthew 12:34b NLT). Our mouths just betray what we're really like inside. Sometimes I hear people say something really mean or unkind and then they say, "Oh, I don't know what got into me. That's not like me."
Oh, yes it is! Your mouth just reveals what's in your heart. Someone's harsh tongue reveals an angry heart. When you meet somebody with a negative tongue, you know he's got a fearful heart. When someone has a boasting tongue, it reveals an insecure heart. Someone's judgmental tongue just exposes a guilty heart. Somebody with a filthy tongue has an impure heart.
On the other hand, if you find somebody who's always encouraging others, he has a happy heart. If he's always speaking in a gentle way, you know he's got a loving heart. If he's able to control his words, you know he's got a peaceful heart.
Are you satisfied with the words that naturally come out of your mouth? If not, then you need a heart transplant. You need a new heart! David says in Psalm 51:10, "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me" (NIV).
If your heart is crying out inside, it's because you haven't ever fully received the warmth and security of a relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus can replace a hurting heart with his love. He cares about your pain, and he will help you heal so that your words give life and reveal the hope you have in Christ.
Talk It Over
- What kind of speech comes most easily for you?
- How do you want your words to affect other people? What do you need to change for that to happen?
- Think about the people in your life who are natural encouragers. What can you learn from them?