S102P1 – Simmer down now: anger will come

Like every temptation to sin, anger does not strike us all equally.  Some would say they have not struggled with anger much, but others would say that anger is their biggest trap of sin.  Regardless of where we find ourselves, the scriptures lay out for us some fundamental truths and tactics for reining in our anger and dealing with this very real emotion in a righteous way.

Eph. 4:25-27

Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.

She was the patient in the house who needed the most attention.  What I mean is that she was the one we had to watch closely.  Her behavior could be erratic, and we never knew what to expect.  All of these ladies were recovering from some kind of addiction, and they exhibited similar patterns of expected behavior, but each one had her own special idiosyncrasies to address.  This one was prone to anger and often.  My initial advice to her was simply to not let herself get angry.  I thought that was pretty good advice even if it was a tall order to fulfill, but the more I thought about it, I was totally wrong.  The goal was not to stop her from getting angry, as that is an emotion we all will experience.  The goal was to give her a productive outlet for that anger.

We can fool ourselves into thinking that anger is this apex of rage and fury.  We might see it as hitting that point of the last straw, but anger is really a process.  This is an emotion we will need to deal with always, so the sin is not in being angry, whatever level of anger you have reached.  It is like the sinful thought that pops into one’s head and tempts us.  Perhaps we cannot control the thought appearing, but we certainly can control what we do with that thought.  Anger works much the same way.  I will feel poked and prodded when other drivers on the highway drive dangerously around me, and I will get hot under the collar because I take my safety seriously.  The question is how I respond when that seed of anger is planted by whatever circumstance brings it.

We have a choice when something ticks us off.  We can respond in anger, which means that we take what has festered up inside us and run with it.  This will cause us to make decisions which are unrighteous, sinful and foolish.  The other option is to respond in wisdom with the opposite of what anger would whisper in our ears.  Intentional deliberation will lead us to righteous and wise action.  As sin abounds more and more in this dark world, we will find ourselves feeling anger at the unrighteousness and injustice we see.  Be angry, but navigate that anger in a way which is not sinful.  Father, increase the weapons in our arsenal for those times when we must wage war against anger, that we would respond in the way that serves as a testimony to your righteousness.