Even Jesus got angry!
Let’s face it, we all get angry. The Apostle Paul got angry, and yes, even Jesus got angry. But when we look at this verse from Ephesians we see that it is not the feeling of anger itself that is the problem, it is our reaction to that feeling. How do you behave when you’re angry? Does the anger control you? That is where sin enters into the equation.
I think we get a little confused by this passage and maybe when thinking about anger in general. Anger in and of itself is not bad. It is an emotion that we all face every day. God gave us our emotions, so it really can’t be bad. In fact, righteous anger, such as Jesus’ anger towards the Pharisees or the money changers in the temple, was completely justified. They were behaving badly and hurting people. When we see injustice in the world we should be angry. That can be, and usually is, the impetus for change. The problem is actually twofold. First, we tend to get angry about things that are not worthy of anger, and second, when we get angry, we usually don’t handle it properly. When we allow our anger to boil over, causing us to say or do things that are hurtful to others, that is sin.
“Don’t go to bed angry.” This saying is often given as advice to couples as they begin their life together, but I know I didn’t get it. Chasing my husband around the house telling him “we have to resolve this so I can go to bed” didn’t go over so well sometimes! Rather than haranguing him, what I needed to do was resolve my own feelings. I am responsible for myself and my actions, not his or anyone else’s for that matter. The point is for me to control my feelings and to figure out what is causing those feelings.
One of the fruit of the spirit talked about in the memory verse for this series is self-control. Oh, and kindness and gentleness, let’s not forget those! If I am allowing the Holy Spirit to live in me, then I am able to have anger but not let it have me. So, when I feel myself getting angry, I need to remember to respond rather than react. The difference is presence of mind and thought. If I react, that is knee jerk and usually not good! That is where the sin enters in. I say or do something in reaction to my emotions. On the other hand, if I thoughtfully respond, I can be angry and be reasonable. Being angry isn’t necessarily sinful, though it most likely will lead to sin. When we are angry, we need to fight against it. And, as Paul tells us, we need to deal with it. As Ben explained this weekend, and as we unpack his message through this week, we will learn some practical ways to do just that.
26And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27for anger gives a foothold to the devil.
When you get angry, do you respond or react?
How is reacting giving “a foothold to the devil?”
Father, thank you for giving me a mind that can think and reason. I praise you for sending the Holy Spirit to guide me and produce good fruit in me. Help me to live by the Spirit and not let anger control me. Amen.
This post was written by Kelda Strasbourg, Kelda is a grateful member of the LivingItOut writing team. She has a love for Jesus and the desire to help others find that same love. She has her own business and a border collie named Emily.
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