Managing Anger 4:26: Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,

What does Paul mean by being angry but not allowing it to lead to sin? It means anger should be left at feeling level and allowed to readily fizzle out but not graduate to acts that are wrong (Ephesians 4: 25-32).

What this also means is that being angry is a delicate situation and has the potential to lead to sin. Ask Cain. He was angry that his sacrifice was not accepted by God and wanted to vent his anger. But God told him to not allow that emotional state to turn into a sinful state, this is because anger, not properly managed, always has the potential to lead to sin, because the roaring emotion is looking for an outlet. The outlet that Cain’s anger found was Abel and he killed him (Genesis 4:1-12)!

Whenever you are angry, realise that it is not sin, but a temptation to sin. James taught that being tempted is not sin. And the sin process starts with desire of the sinful flesh which breeds in the mind, fed by illogical thinking, and at the end of the “pregnancy” period, what is born is sin (James 1:12-16).

From the book of Proverbs, if you don’t have control over your emotions, if you cannot control your anger, you are most vulnerable to undue influences (Proverbs 25:28), (vulnerable to Satanic takeover bids of the obsession strain) because you will never come short of people stepping on your toes, rubbing off on you the wrong way.

Therefore you emotional state should not be based on the attitude or actions of others. And you must master that anger lest it masters you. When angry, there is the temptation to exert revenge, for violence and for un-forgiveness. Or don’t you think that un-forgiveness is tempting? Don’t fall for it, it’s a trap. It drains your spiritual energy.

Train yourself to focus on what you are doing and not what the other person has not done or has done. Do not focus on what you can get but on what you can give. That would prime you to have a greater expectation from yourself than on others, because anger usually springs forth because of failed expectations.

Anger must not translate to unwholesome, unregulated verbal exchange unbecoming of a follower of Jesus Christ (Colossians 3:8, Ephesians 4:29). Do not resort to name calling or curses (James 3:9-12), you can choose to be silent (Proverbs 17:28).

However that is not the instinct of an angry man who wants to make the object of the anger have an equal and opposite reaction; you want to make the other person as angry as you are. That is a temptation, don’t yield to it. It is calculated to get your eyes off God and set on people. It is calculated to get you focused on the acts of man rather than on the acts of God.

Realise this and know that it is to your own advantage to overlook that fault; that it is the will of God to have nobody having a hold on you except Himself. Or don’t you know that you are the slave of the one you yield to (Romans 6:16)? You can yield to anger and become its slave, which translates into being the slave of sin instead of being slave of righteousness.

Make a choice not to be bitter no matter what. To be bitter is to engage in an ongoing battle, unseen with the other party (Hebrews 12:14-15), in your mind; this takes the place of the peace and presence of God in your life, which should pervade your mind.

Don’t be clamorous or go about as a tale bearer, letting off the fume of your anger on anyone who can give you an hearing. The bible says it is an honourable thing to ignore a fault (Proverbs 19:11); therefore it is a source of dishonour to allow anger to seethe in or rule us.

Anger should not lead to malice, which is setting out to undermine the other person, in words, ways or activities, in an ungodly manner. But be in the kindness mode and be tender-hearted, which means you can be hurt but you can’t find it in yourself to hit back. Instead, your heart flows to the other person in compassion.

Forgiving is a deliberate act- a choice which makes restoring relationship faster and easier. The motivation for our forgiving others is because God in Christ has decided to give us forgiveness as a gift. It we have accepted his gift; we should be able to give others the same thing. He decided that he was going to have no left over issues hindering our relationship with Him. Just as God bent over double, coming down from heaven, to have us reconciled to himself, making peace, we should have a similar frame of mind (2Corinthians 5:18-20). It is not beyond us. Actually we are told to be imitators of God (Ephesians 5:1-2).

Let your first action after getting angry be…Nothing. Do not be impulsive. How? Make the decision to not allow anger to lead you to sin. We need to have enough freedom in our emotional life to refuse to carry any emotional weight continent on what other people do, say, don’t do or don’t say.

The writer to the Hebrews says that we should lay aside every weight and the sin which easily besets us (Hebrews 12:1-2). Do not allow any incident to become an emotional weight on you. This has the potential to becloud your sense of judgement, slow down your pace.

The divine injunction is that we be sober and vigilant (1Peter 5:8); to be sober means not easily excitable; it is to be even minded, not to tilt too much to the extremes of the emotion spectrum. Maintain a full focus on the end in view which is the kingdom of God. Do not be tossed to and fro by every emotional wind.

If you find yourself oscillating too much in spiritual tempo; check out your emotional tempo. What Peter advised, was that we should be self controlled and sober for the purpose of prayer (1Peter 4:7). Maybe your prayer life has not taken a leap because you have not gotten t
an handle on your emotions, e.g. on anger.

You’ve been angry now for years: that is why you’ve been sick for years. As hinted earlier, anger makes you more vulnerable to satanic attacks. That is why the bible says that the anger of man does not result in the righteousness of God (James 1:20). It is the wrong way to go.

The verse after the focus verse states partly: “neither give place to the devil”; showing the direct link between the emotion of anger that is allowed to fester for too long, not reined in, and the devil. Paul termed it: giving place to the devil; to do what? – To steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). And for Paul, too long, means overnight.


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