“I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests, I put many of the Lord’s people in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. I was so obsessed with persecuting them that I even hunted them down in foreign cities. (Acts 26:9-11)
Before Paul became a Christian, his hate for them was so great that he provoked them into anger and blasphemy, a crime in the Jewish court that was punishable by death. Stirring up anger is Satan’s entertainment—pure evil. He uses us to make others sin and pull them away from God.
Is someone in your life pulling your strings—stirring the pot? Should you avoid them or turn the other cheek and show them God’s love? Proverbs 22:24 (MSG) says: “Don’t hang out with angry people; don’t keep company with hotheads. Bad temper is contagious—don’t get infected.” Romans 16:17 says: “I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in our way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.”
The person causing you anger might be family. What if you can’t avoid them? Okay. Titus 3:10 says: “Warn a divisive person once and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them.” And Galatians 6:1 says, “If anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.”
Very few people are like Paul—able to remain spiritual while being persecuted. So keep watch on yourself. If your relatives make you angry, stay away. You will drive them further from Jesus whenever you lose your temper with them.
Father, I praise You for the wisdom found in Your word. Help me be like Paul and be happy and calm in any situation. Please protect my loved ones and me today and bind us closer to You. As for my family and me, we will serve the Lord. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.