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Quenching the fire: Anger | Back to articles | Articles sitemap |


Anger: it’s something that every single one of us has experienced on more then one occasion. Anger is an emotion of instant displeasure on account of a real or supposed grievance. In other words anger is a feeling of irritation, annoyance or frustration towards a person or situation. Anger is just one of many complex emotions that make up who we are. Today I want to explore anger from a Christian perspective and bring clarity to this often complicated and misunderstood emotion.

Is anger sin?

First of all, anger in and of itself is not sin. As free willed individuals we have the right to be angry on account of a real injustice. God has even shown Himself to be angry at the sin of man many times in the Bible. (See Exodus: 32:10, Numbers: 12:9, 2 Samuel: 24:1, Isaiah: 5:25)

It’s human nature to get angry when something happens to you that you don’t like. If someone stole your car you would be angry. If you lost your job you would probably be angry. If someone falsely accused you of something you would most likely get angry. Becoming angry for a legitimate reason is not sin. Sometimes we even get angry at ourselves. We get angry at the way we’ve handled certain situations, and many times the way we’ve knowingly mistreated others. Anger towards our own sin shows true regret; it shows a true desire to change.

All that being said, the most important truth about anger remains to be this: it is ok to be angry about a legitimate or rightful grievance, but only for short period of time. It is not ok to stay angry. Anger must subside. To stay angry would mean to eliminate the option of forgiveness and peace, and that, would be sin.

Anger becomes sinful when it’s causeless, excessive or prolonged unnecessarily. Matthew 5:22 says that "… whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment:” To put it simply, becoming angry at someone for no reason is sin. We must have lawful and just reasons to be angry. Even then however, we are to keep our temper under strict control. Anger is allowed by the gospel, but sin is not. Continuing to stay angry at someone when forgiveness is sought is sin. Being or becoming excessively angry over small wrongdoings is sin. "He that is soon angry (or quick to anger) dealeth foolishly..." (Proverbs 14:17)

A trap of the enemy:

Satan, as always, is planning and setting traps for us. Satan tries to exploit or use anger to skillfully drag us into sin. Satan likes to present frequent opportunities for us to become illegitimately angry; I’m sure you have experienced this many times in your life by now.

The Apostle Paul gives us vital instructions concerning anger: “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” (Ephesians 4:26, 27 NIV) As Christians, it is extremely profitable for us to put off anger and wrath as quickly as possible so that we do not give Satan the platform and tools to work with to bring us down.Prolonged anger/wrath is the direct opposite of love. Prolonged anger develops into hatred. If Satan can persuade you from love then he’s persuaded you from God because “…God is Love”. (1 John 4:8)

Not the chosen way:

Again, the Bible clearly indicates to us that illegitimate and prolonged anger is sinful. It doesn’t take long for anger to turn into extreme bitterness or hate if it prolongs. Though legitimate anger is not sinful, it is beneficial for us to live anger-free lives as much as possible. “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” (Romans 12:18)

In order for that to take place anger must be dealt with very quickly. A giant step towards the forgiveness of another is faith and prayer. Not just prayer for yourself however, but prayer for the offender as well. Even if you don’t feel like praying for them, begin to pray for those who have wronged you. By forcing yourself to pray for someone, you are in reality forcing yourself to love, though it may not feel like it. It does not take love long to work, and forgiveness will soon be at hand. This is because love will persuade you to forgiveness like anger persuades you to hate; love is simply a direct path to forgiveness. Do not give into anger and repay evil for evil, rather, overcome evil with good. The Bible way is always the best way.

The true Christian way must be the Bible way. We must continually and fervently be working towards love, peace and the forgiveness of others. We must learn to be "…swift to hear, slow to speak, (and) slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God." (James 1:19, 20)

A life of righteousness is the Christian way! The soul of the righteous sings with joy but the soul of the angry groans with dissatisfaction. Therefore “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.” (Proverbs 22:24,25)

In all dealings with people be patient, even as our Heavenly Father is patient towards us. Practice stress relief in your life, for stress quickens anger. Remember that we need spiritual, mental and physical stress relief. You attain spiritual stress relief by keeping your spirit fed. Stay in the word, and regularly go to church. Physical and some times mental stress relief can be attained through exercise and out door activities. Mental stress relief however is primarily attained by doing something that you enjoy. Remember to always put some time aside for yourself. If you don’t make time for relaxation, if you don’t make time for a hobby or something you enjoy, it will make your day to day life much more stressful.

Don’t let stress tempt you into causeless, excessive or prolonged anger which results in sin. Love, faith and prayer must be practiced on a daily basis so that the wide spread anger and hatred which is a problem in our society today, does not continue to run rampant and grow. "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiven one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." (Ephesians 4:31,32)

Imitate the Father:

If you’re a parent you’ll know that children like to imitate their mom and dad. Children will intently watch their parent’s every move and many times are blunt about what they see. As the children of God, we should be doing the very same thing: imitating our Father!

The character of our Father:

"The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy." (Psalms 145:8)

God is "...a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and great kindness..." (Nehemiah 9:17 )

"For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favor is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning". (Psalms 30:5)

As God’s children it is only proper for us to follow His example. Every time we are unsure of what to do in a situation we should be asking ourselves “what would Jesus do?” As the saying goes “imitation is the highest form of flattery.” God wants us to imitate Him, and you can be assured He has set the most perfect examples for us to follow. The character of God is love; He is love. Therefore when anger comes, though we may not feel like it, we must look for a way to love our way out of the situation. When the first opportunity for mercy and forgiveness arises, forgive; this is Gods way.

Do not make the foolish mistake of trying to be God instead of imitating God. Many people exalt themselves making them their own God. This is called sin, and the ones who live their lives as they see fit in their own eyes will be cast into hell, the Word says so. We should all learn from the devil’s mistakes. He rebelled against God trying to exalt himself and look at his fate.

Imitate the Father, keep from illegitimate anger, and let valid anger endure but for a moment. Show yourself to be pleasing to the Lord; a person ready to pardon, slow to anger and abounding in mercy. Be gracious, be compassionate; be kind. Amen.

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