“Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.” (Eph. 4:26,27).
The Lord Jesus was demonstrably angry on more than one occasion, two of them recorded in the gospels when He visited the Temple and seeing the money changers desecrating His Father’s House, He turned their tables upside down and with a whip drove them from the Temple, once at the beginning of His public ministry and once near the conclusion of it.
Paul no doubt had dealt with the emotion of anger as had many of the apostles, as have we all! Someone who cannot be angry because of heinous crimes against God and humanity is not well but is at least spiritually anemic. That is why Paul acknowledges there are times when anger is a fitting response to sin (for instance, child abuse or a myriad of other injustices). But anger that seethes and is not dealt with spiritually will become a source of sin.
Aristotle said that becoming angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time and in the right way is not easy!
How do we manage anger? Well, we must yield always to the Holy Spirit, our indwelling Guide and Teacher. We must not carry unresolved disputes over from one day to another, and another and another. We must be forgiving, knowing that we too have offended God but that God, for Christ’s sake, has forgiven us. And, we dare not “give place to the devil,” by allowing the anger to morph into bitterness, estrangement, and finally hatred. We can and should address the offence and the offender in the spirit of Christ who was and is longsuffering, gentle, compassionate; but Who was able to be angry with the right persons, to the right degree, at the right time and in the right way. He was angry and yet He did not sin; nor should we, His followers who are called to imitate our Lord.
“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Eph. 4:31,32).
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- “If We Did Not Go, Who Would Go?”
- Two Kinds of Wisdom, Pt. 2
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- The Taming of the Tongue