While it provides heat and light when under control, fire can be dangerous. Last year, we saw no less than 9 major wildfires in the US. One of the most famous wildfires was the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs, Colorado. From June 23 – July 10, 2012, this fire burned up 18,247 acres, destroyed nearly 350 homes, and killed 2 people. The property damage totaled more than $110 million, and the fire cost firefighters more than $16 million to fight. When fire gets out of control, it always causes destruction.

The same is true of anger. Anger may be a good thing if we are angry for the right reasons: when we hear someone use the Lord’s name in vain; when we hear someone speak blasphemous words against Jesus Christ; when we see sin portrayed in a good light on television or in videos; when God is wronged; when we learn about the abortion rate; when we hear people teaching evolution as science. These are all good reasons to get angry.

But anger can be dangerous when we are angry for the wrong reasons: when someone pulls out in front of us in traffic; when the boss says negative comments about us behind our back and we hear about it later; when the food burns or the service is slow at the restaurant; when we are wronged. We start to meditate on how unfairly we’ve been treated, and we think about how we’ll never be able to trust the person who offended us again. The anger becomes personal; and as we dwell on it, it begins to control us. At this point, we must either bring the cause of our anger to God, or be destroyed by it. Like a raging wildfire, an outburst of anger always leaves great ruin behind. The key is never to allow it to reach the point where it controls us. In other words, we have to learn to let it go.

There will be plenty of things which will make you angry over the course of this year. How are you going to deal with them? If you give them to God, you will have peace; but if you hold onto them, you will be a wildfire waiting to break loose.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder