CONTROLLING OUR ANGER
EPHESIANS 4:26-27 says “don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.”
Have you ever been angry? Angry at someone or something?
At one time or another, we have all gotten angry at someone or something.
Unfortunately, due to our fallen nature, our nature to sin, often anger becomes more destructive than productive in our lives.
In the scripture above, Paul is saying that we can be angry, but it needs to be for the right reasons and should not last very long. He tells us not to let the anger become a sin, and not to be angry more than a day.
In verse 31 of Ephesians 4, Paul says, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.”
Wait, didn’t Paul just say it was ok to be angry? Now he is saying it’s an evil behavior?
Some anger is NOT for the right reason or the right amount of time. Anger that is selfish, undisciplined, and uncontrolled is always sinful. Anger must never be something that we allow to control our lives.
Anger must not be carried over from one day into the next. When you continue to be angry, it becomes sinful behavior.
Jesus takes anger very seriously! You should too.
Matthew 5:21-22 tell us what Jesus said about how serious anger is. “You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you call someone a fool, you are in danger of the fires of hell.”
So how we act when we are angry has something to do with it being a sin or not. All that name calling Jesus mentioned would be an example of anger turning into a sin.
How does Jesus tell us to act when we are angry? How do we keep it from being a sin?
The next 2 verses in Matthew tell us what to do. Remember though, back then people had to go to a Temple (they didn’t have as many churches as we do) and they had to give offerings and sacrifices of animals to pay for the sins they had commited.
Verses 23-24 say “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.
He says, “Make things right with those you are angry with! ” That is what “reconciled” means. God tells us that we shouldn’t even go to church with our offerings until we make things right with someone we are angry with.
We all must remember that God loves the person you or I are angry with. We should try our best to do the same.
So, what do you do with anger? Be sure you are getting angry at the right things. Jesus is our model in dealing with the emotion of anger.
Jesus was good. He helped people. He healed the sick and blind and crippled. He loved the poor and rich the same. He loved the people who didn’t even like Him.
Jesus knew what it was like to be the subject of anger. People were angry with Jesus, so they nailed Him to the cross. They spit on Him, they beat him, they lied about Him, they called Him names, they wanted Him DEAD. I hope you have never been that angry with someone and I hope no one has ever been that angry with you.
So what did Jesus do? We know that He is our best example to follow. Jesus didn’t do anything wrong, so what did he do?
He forgave them. From the cross Jesus prayed “Father forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing.”
The cure for anger and resentment is forgiveness. Forgiveness for the Christian is not an option. We are commanded to forgive.
When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them the way to pray, Jesus included FORGIVENESS in that model prayer. That’s not all the parts of prayer that Jesus taught in this prayer, but it was one part and if Jesus taught it, it must be important and necessary. Jesus was perfect. He didn’t include forgiveness by mistake. He wants us to forgive.
Matthew 6:9-13 records the Lord’s Prayer. He prayed, “Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed (Holy) is Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our sins as we also forgive those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the Glory forever. Amen.”
That prayer also mentions asking God for the things you NEED. (daily bread was what Jesus mentioned). Sometimes we NEED God’s help to forgive. Ask God to help you forgive. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you let someone get away with something or you give them a chance to do the same things…. No. Forgiveness is not the same as saying there are no consequences for what someone did. Jesus doesn’t remove our consequences when He forgives…He just removes our sin. He can help you do the same.