Don’t Be Mad
“And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad. But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.” Acts 26:24-25
We all have heard phrases such as: “fit of rage, moment of anger, display of frustration…” These are all expressions describing someone who is anger or acting out with anger in their heart. These phrases are used when a person commits an action under the influence of their anger. “Rage, wrath, angry, and anger” are common words in Scripture. While controlled and confessed anger can be good, consistent anger is not. Ephesians 4:26-27 clearly teaches: “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.” Like angry waves beating against the sea shore, consistent anger can change the landscape of your heart.
The Apostle Paul is giving his testimony in Acts 26. He is in the custody of Festus, a Roman Magistrate. King Agrippa comes to Caesarea where Paul is staying. I have been to the incredible ruins of the Caesars palace in Caesarea. Paul would have appeared somewhere in this location. Festus and Agrippa then allow Paul to speak to them and present “his case.” King Agrippa and does not understand his message and says that Paul is “mad.” As Paul taught about his Jewish heritage, Festus a Roman, had no comprehension. When Paul said that Jesus had spoken to him following His death on the Cross, and then described the resurrection, Festus speaks these words suggesting that Paul was “out of his mind” and was not thinking clearly.
“Mad” in this passage is referring to “unintelligible thinking.” Paul made a lot of sense to Agrippa who is “almost persuaded” to become a Christian, but the message did not make sense to Festus. Today we use the word “mad” to describe a person who is angry about something and they are expressing to others their anger. We use it in much the same way but almost always connected to an angry person. Perhaps you have asked: “What is she mad about today?”
An observation we must make is this: We are not thinking right when we are “mad.” When we are angry, controlled by rage, or justifying our wrath, we are acting and thinking “crazy.” If we allow anger to control our thoughts and actions every day, it will impact our relationships, change our perspective, and even do damage to our physical body. Most importantly a mad person damages his fellowship with God.
Check out these examples: Proverbs 14:17 “He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated.” Proverbs 29:22 “An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.” See how being angry causes a person to not think correctly?
Jonah is a good example of how anger causes us to not think right. He allows his anger to make him say foolish things and even pray in foolish ways. Jonah was not thinking clearly. Note Jonah 4:1-3: “But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil. Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.”
Jonah has just preached and seen thousands upon thousands of people get right with God. He is amazed that God would forgive the evil society he preached to so he gets angry. Why say foolish things like “It’s better for me to die than live?” Why be “mad” after such success? His wrong thinking was brought on by his uncontrolled, unwarranted anger.
Don’t be mad! Ask forgiveness for the sin of consistent anger and choose to think clearly by the grace of God.