October 14, 2021
And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry. Ephesians 4:26 NLT
Anger is not a sin to be avoided. It is a natural human emotion and response to stimulus around us. Sometimes anger is the only appropriate response for a Jesus-follower. Jesus left us with several examples of anger, and He showed us how to control our anger and not let it control us.
Emotional control is one of the premiere signs of simple maturity. It’s an essential part of spiritual maturity. All of our emotions are gifts from God and are intended for our good. But all of them are intended to be under our control, managed and supervised by God’s Spirit within us.
God’s man Paul had many opportunities to develop and display the appropriate use of anger. He hands us a wealth of wisdom in these two sentences:
Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Out-of-control anger is not just a slip or a personality trait. It’s not because you are a red head, Irish, or any of the other excuses intended to alleviate the seriousness of our episodes. It’s a sin. Yep. A SIN. A sin against God, myself, and others. It damages all the relationships when it is out of control. Your anger is out of control when you have angry outbursts, you hurt yourself or others physically or with the words you say, irritability is your default mode, you can’t bear the mistakes or frailties of people around you, you have a fight-or-flight response to disagreements, people feel they need to tiptoe around you on certain subjects—you know the signs. You may see them in others more clearly than in yourself. There’s plenty of injustice in the world, particularly right now. You may have to face discrimination in your life or may feel like the avenues of success are barred against you. Your reasons for anger may be 100% justified. However, that doesn’t mean you can live in your angry feelings and let them destroy your life—and they will.
Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry. That may seem impossible if you think you have to be angry until everything is resolved. Untrue. Anger is a clear sign that something is wrong. Identify it and commit to working on what you can do about the situation. Do that immediately, within the day. You may need to tell God, “Father, I feel very hurt and angry. But I trust You. Tonight as I sleep, please work with my subconscious mind to give me peace and clarity. Help me forgive and work with You. I will not do anything in my anger. I will depend on You to bring me through this.” The next day as any triggers come up, ask God to help you keep in step with His Spirit and bring you to the courageous, right decisions.” Sleeping with bitterness in your heart is a sure way to make it grow. Bad things grow in the dark (Hebrews 12:15).
- Make a practice of clearing your heart of anger each night before bed by giving it to God.