“And don’t sin by letting anger gain control over you.” Ephesians 5:26 NLT
Funny how quickly a pleasant morning can reverse itself.
Mom had rented a booth at the local flea market. We arrived early and began unloading our wares. The gentleman who had rented the space beside us was doing the same. Only he was placing some of his items on one of our tables. Since I hadn’t made my way back to where I needed to be with God, I informed him of his mistake using a few choice words. Silence followed my tirade. Either he didn’t hear me or chose to ignore this young whipper snapper. But Mom called me to the side and said, “You can’t talk to him like that. He’s a member of our church.”
Of all the emotions, anger is perhaps the most misunderstood. Knowing some facts about it can help.
Fact 1: Anger isn’t a sin. Another translation of this same verse reads, “Be angry and sin not”. Anger is one of the natural emotions God created in the human makeup. When people wrong me, offend my family or friends, or when circumstances seem unfair, it’s natural for me to get angry. Jesus was angered by the moneychangers who cheated the people coming to worship God. He was also angered by the religious elite who misinterpreted the intent of God’s Word and placed the people under cumbersome rules.
Fact 2: Anger often leads to sinful acts. Though anger is a natural emotion, it’s also a volatile emotion. Anger in and of itself isn’t a sin, but anger often leads to sinful actions. Mine did at the flea market. How we process anger is crucial. Righteous anger leads me to correct injustices through moral and godly avenues. It moves me to act, but the actions won’t be sinful.
Fact 3: No one can make you angry. I’m guilty of saying, “He (or she) makes me angry,” or “That makes me so mad.” In reality, I chose to get angry. If someone can make me angry, they have power over me. And if that’s the case, I can blame them for my anger and the resulting actions and then justify them in my mind. But I can’t. Anger is my choice.
Let God show you how to process your anger in beneficial ways.
Prayer: Father, when we are angered by others or by unpleasant circumstances, show us how to process our actions in godly ways.
Martin Wiles Hodges, South Carolina, USA