Moments of Anger
Do you often find yourself dealing with anger? How well do you handle those moments? Did you know that it is okay to be angry? Do you know how to be angry without sinning?
Let's explore this topic together in today's devotional:
“Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.”
She felt like it “came out of nowhere.” Her beloved father rebuked her, expressing anger and disappointment with her behavior right before he left on a business trip. Thoughts raced through her head: “How can he be so mad at me? I thought he loved me?”
Friends, this was my daughter. Shocked and hurt that I would express my anger and disappointment with her behavior. She felt as though I no longer loved her because I showed anger towards her. As difficult as this interaction was for me, it was a result of having observed her behavior for a while. I noticed a subtle change as I perceived she was becoming less and less sensitive to the things of the Spirit and more and more drawn to the things of the world.
Was my anger justified? I hope it was, but only God knows. Whether justified or not, as a leader and an entrepreneur there are times in your home or at the office when an incident will occur and you will get angry. The key, however, is that in the midst of your anger you do not sin.
Ephesians 4:26 states, “Be angry, and do not sin, do not let the sun go down on your wrath.” There are many incidents in the scriptures when Jesus got angry — BUT, He never sinned or reacted in a manner that was inconsistent with His Father’s will. Out of anger, He drove the money changers and the consumers out of the temple saying, “It is written, my house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.” – Matthew 21:13 (NKJV).
In Matthew 23, He rebuked the Pharisees for their hypocrisy. In Mark 3, He got angry at the Pharisees for their legalism and in Mark 8, He rebuked the fig tree for not producing fruit. Jesus’ anger was always due to hypocrisy, lack of care for the people or irreverence towards God and the things of God. It was always directed to those who should have known better.
To be angry means to be strongly annoyed or displeased. Righteous anger must never be out of a desire to protect oneself and advance one’s own agenda. It must always be centered on God’s will and preserving His standard of righteousness. How do you recognize righteous anger? Righteous anger has the following characteristics:
- God’s Word is being violated or abused
- God is not being honored
- The innocent and weak are being attacked or abused
- Sin is prevailing
Even when you have the right to be angry, it does not give you the right to allow your anger to get out of control. Remember that self-control is part of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:23) and you are commanded not to sin when you are angry. Also, an outburst of wrath is a ‘work of the flesh’ (Galatians 5:20).
How then can you be angry without sinning?
- Make sure it is righteous anger – check your motives
- Express your concern without yelling or getting out of control
- Do not take it personally or make it personal
- Attack the sin, not the sinner – though Jesus was personal at times
- Give yourself time to consider the consequences
- Pray about the appropriate response
- Take responsibility for your part
Righteous anger is always redemptive and focused on preserving the will of God and not protecting ourselves or advancing our own agenda.
So how did the incident with my daughter turn out? When I returned from my trip, I took her to one of her favorite restaurants for a father and daughter talk. She took responsibility for her behavior and we agreed on a discipleship plan to nurture her intimacy with the Lord as she navigates through the challenges she is currently facing as a teenager. We both came away satisfied with the outcome and committed to meeting once a month until meeting for that purpose is no longer necessary.
My prayer for you is that God will give you the grace and wisdom to know how to be angry without sinning so that God can be glorified in your life.
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