Attitude, Part 5

Anger Without Sin

“Be angry and do not sin.”

(Eph. 4:26)

Anger is easy to start but sometimes hard to resolve without unnecessary conflict. Righteous anger is justified. Sin is never justified.

So here is a passage that offers permission, “Be angry,” but forbids sin, “do not sin.” It becomes a challenge to be so careful, so disciplined, so self-aware, that when we are upset, we gauge the expression of our anger so that it doesn’t lead to sin.

JUST KEEP READING. “Do not let the sun go down on your anger.” I used to think this meant, set a timer for 12 hours and stop your anger when the timer goes off. No, that’s not it. This is not a “down to the last minute” legalistic and simplistic rule. This is a picture that holds simple meaning. Your anger must be temporary, not ongoing. When it starts, make certain you will stop it before sin enters in.

How is anger stopped?

(1) As soon as it starts, consider what caused it. Did someone simply disagree with you? Did someone actually offend you? Did someone walk away from? Did someone hurt someone you love? Is there some wise action you can take? Is there a conflict that can be peacefully resolved? These questions are introspective, causing you to pause and explore the cause, so as to monitor the time you devote to it. The time and energy should be in proportion to all the factors involved in the provocation or cause.

(2) Pray about the matter. It isn’t easy to pray and be angry at the same time. Prayer about the issue sincerely offered to God, asking for wisdom and strength can keep the anger contained in that temporary time frame. You can then move away from the anger to more productive thinking and living.

(3) Is your anger due to a matter of faith or a matter of opinion? This is critical in determining if you should even be upset. And if so, what steps you need to take, if any. If a matter of faith, that is a level that requires more than a matter of opinion. Read carefully the 14th chapter of Romans, and make a prayerful determination. If someone disagreed with you 20  years ago over a matter of individual judgment, and you are still remembering and marinating in that – well, that’s an immature waste of time.

(4) Watch your front door! When there is anger in your “house,” the devil is at your front door. He wants to come in and lead you into sin, but “…give no opportunity to the devil.” Don’t let him turn that seed into an evil plant that devours you and hurts others.

There is no such thing as legitimate anger that justifies an illegitimate response!

“This you know, my beloved brethren. But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God” (James 1:19–20).

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