Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath (Ephesians 4:26).
When I was a teenager I would get angry and go into a rage. I would scream and kick. I remember one time I was working on my car and having difficulty. I beat the side of my car and slammed my fists repeatedly on the ground in anger. I knew I was out of control.
After I submitted my life to Jesus anger sought to work its way back into my life. I saw quickly that if I didn’t get it under control, I would end up doing something that would hurt my relationships and my employment. So I researched the subject of anger, and implemented some simple principles to keep myself out of trouble. Here is what I discovered.
All of us have to learn to deal properly with anger. Anger in itself is not sinful. It’s the motive behind it and the actions that it produces that make anger sinful and harmful.
If you can be angry and not sin, then anger must at times be an appropriate emotion. A person who is never angry has some serious emotional and mental issues to deal with. Even God is angry with the wicked every day (Psalm 7:11). Jesus became angry when He saw His Father’s house being defamed by the crooks and thieves doing business in the name of the Jewish religion. He overturned their money tables and turned the animals loose. He drove the hypocrites out in blazing anger! But Jesus never sinned! This episode of anger was not sinful.
Here’s the bottom line. Anger rooted in selfishness (not getting your own way) is sinful anger. Anger that is motivated by a desire to honor and please God and see fairness and right rule is not sinful anger. Anger at injustice and wrong living are appropriate, but anger must always be controlled.
Notice what the Word says about anger. An angry man stirs up strife, and a furious man abounds in transgression (Proverbs 29:22). He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city (Proverbs 16:32). A wise man restrains his anger and overlooks insults. This is to his credit (Proverbs 19:11- Living Bible). Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, For anger rests in the bosom of fools (Ecclesiastes 7:9).
Ask the Father to help you control anger. Make a decision not to confront or speak about a difficult situation until your anger is under control. I usually separate myself from the situation that brought anger and find a place to be alone. Then I ask the Lord to help me understand what’s going on. And I pray in the spirit. But I will not confront until I have love, joy, and peace within me. Sometimes I find that I must delay confrontation for hours and sometimes a few days until I know I have anger in check. Great harm results from uncontrolled anger.
Above all, meditate on God’s Word about anger. Go to a concordance and find the scriptures that relate to anger and meditate on them daily. The Holy Spirit will then empower the Word and enable you to control your responses to difficulties. Make a decision to walk in peace, and when you lose it, get alone and sort out what happened. Ask the Father to help and cast the care of the situation on Him. Never speak when overly angry. Remember, a soft answer turns away wrath.