Monday, December 19, 2022

Dealing with Anger (Ephesians 4:17-32)

“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath (Eph. 4:26).

When we face difficult problems, we can display a wide range of emotions—fear, sorrow, frustration, and anger. Some people more than others struggle with anger because of temperament, experiences, and, of course, sin. The Bible says, “Be angry and sin not” (Eph. 4:26). How do you know whether you have crossed the line from legitimate anger into sin? 

The first thing we learn from this verse is that anger itself is not evil. God becomes angry, so we cannot say anger is always bad. But God becomes angry for righteousness reasons. He does not exercise His wrath over a whim. He becomes angry when His righteousness has been corrupted, when His law is broken, and when shame has been cast on His name.

We should become angry at what angers God. For example, a wife is justified in becoming angry at a husband who is neglectful. But even in this circumstance, she must not let her righteous anger turn bitter. The anger must be dealt with by committing the situation to God and by forgiveness. Anger should never stem from self-righteousness or pride. Anger that creates bitterness, vengefulness, or violence does not rise from righteous motives, but is rooted in sin. You must be on your guard against the temptation to become angry on account of your own disappointment, frustration, or pain. When you feel yourself becoming angry, settle down and ask your-self why you are angry. Is it for righteous reasons? Or is it a reaction, a defense mechanism, to protect yourself?

How should we deal with anger? First, we should be long-suffering. As you develop patience and self-control in relationships, your fuse will grow longer. The short-tempered man is foolish and sinful. On the other hand, you should not suppress your anger. Seek reconciliation, confess your sin when your anger flows from selfish motives. Maintain a humble opinion of yourself, and you will find that you are less likely to become angry. Lastly, do not let the sun go down on your anger. Do not ignore conflict, but resolve it in a godly way. The longer you wait to resolve conflict, the quicker your anger will turn into the sin of bitterness which corrodes your soul and casts a shadow on all your relationships. In all things, be conformed to the image of Christ, who is eager to forgive and abundant in mercy.

Do you have a short fuse? Do you harbor bitter feelings because of unresolved conflict? Do you suppress anger and carry resentment? Are you unwilling to forgive and show mercy to others? Confess to God any sin of quick-temperedness and bitterness. Confess specific instances. Ask Him to help you be patient and merciful.