Anger and fear are related. When we are fearful, we often choose to be angry because it feels safer and more in control than the fear does. Anger blocks our other emotions and suppresses our ability to access the root emotions in the same way that fear does. The scriptures tell us to be angry, but don’t sin in our anger. Eph 4:26 When we are angry, we should be angry at injustice and unrighteousness. The problem with anger is that we, being human with a natural bent toward sin, find it almost impossible to not sin in our anger. Also, when we are angry, we cannot reason because anger shuts down the logical part of the brain. Anger keeps us from hearing others and God. It is as if we have covered our ears and we cannot receive truth or reason things out. Anger also opens the door to the spiritual realm in ways that we as Christians do not want. Evil spirits love to attach to anger and will at every opportunity. They are so deceptive that they can make it seem as if we are doing right when we are not.
Eph 4: 26-27 say: “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.
It seems to me that this triple warning is emphasizing the danger that anger poses in our lives if we allow it to rule us. It goes as far as to say that we are GIVING place to the devil. We are handing our lives over to him in areas that belong to God. That is worship in the wrong place with the wrong focus.
Let me make it very clear. There are things that are appropriate to be angry about. Anger is not sin. God gets angry. Jesus got angry. But they are sinless. So it is possible to be angry and not sin. God told us to not sin in our anger because that is what we do. Now, we may not be the type of person who murders when we are angry, but there are other sins we commit when we are angry.
Some sins that can be harbored in our hearts because we have not let the anger go:
- Wrong attitudes
- Revenge-Acting on the anger against someone
- Wrong thinking
- Lack of unity- building barriers because we cannot agree.
- Self worship- I want what I want at all costs.- It is all about me. I am mad because I am not getting my way. They are not doing it right or the way I think it should be.
- Lashing out
- Murder (even thinking this is sin)
There are many other things we do in anger that are sin. My point here is that sin starts in the thoughts. As we dwell on the thoughts, it escalates to attitudes. From there it is a downward spiral because we tend to act on it. Perhaps the acting starts with giving the cold shoulder to someone. Perhaps we have a smart remark that sounds innocent but is meant to be hurtful. And so, on it goes.
If we are angry about something legitimately, it is appropriate to feel it, then deal with it. Do not dwell on it because that leads to sin. Do not act on it because as humans it is too hard to do that without sin. Watch that attitude and be honest with yourself about what your thoughts and attitudes are so that you are clear about if it is a godly condition of the heart or not. If anger can lead to sin, it is a serious emotion to harbor. We often think that our anger is righteous anger when it is not. More often than not, our anger is simply our perception of what others should and should not do. Our anger is an attempt to change something that we don’t like or are uncomfortable with. Our anger is often rooted in misconceptions about the truth.
However, there are situations where our anger can lead to sin even when it starts out to be righteous anger. Someone in the church has wronged us. They have sin in their lives that they refuse to repent of. They are abusive to us. These situations and others can make us angry and rightly so. If they will not listen to reason, what can I do without allowing sin into my heart?
- We cannot change others. Only God can do that. So we must not engage in activity that is an attempt to change someone else.
- We can pray for them and for restoration of fellowship.
- Ask God if there is anything in that situation that we need to change in our own hearts.
- Ask God to grow us through the adversity that presents.
- Ask God to change our own attitudes and beliefs so that we can live peaceably with them.
- Move on and continue to walk close to the Lord.
- Let it go! This is the hardest thing to do when we have been hurt but it is absolutely essential if we are to prevent any seed of sin from sneaking into our hearts.
Anger is becoming a bigger and bigger issue in our society today. It is being used for self gain rather than allowing God to use it to make us more like Him. Yes, He can do that if we allow Him to be master of our lives and let go of everything that holds Him back.
It is a process getting rid of anger in our lives when we have been using it as a tool to make us feel safer. If we allow anger to stay, it becomes our master rather than allowing Jesus Christ to be master in our lives. That makes anger a sinful tool for self worship and self gratification. Get to the root reason for the anger and deal with that. You will no longer need the anger to protect that part of your heart. God will be protecting it with Truth. There is so much peace and freedom in that. Pray, asking God to lead you to freedom in this area. Be patient with each other, praying for each other that God’s way will be done in our hearts and evident to all who encounter us. We are the example to the world of what God’s people are meant to be like.