Archive

Archive for May 7th, 2014

Holy and Unholy Anger

May 7th, 2014

“Don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Ephesians 4:26 NLT.

Anger is a doorway through which your flesh proudly walks.

My thoughts and comments today are about “holy and unholy anger.”

Anger is an emotion that should have a warning sign, “Danger, handle with caution.” Anger is best in the smallest of doses and managed with the greatest of caution. It is an emotion that is not necessarily sinful, but God places some wise restrictions on it. “Don’t sin by letting anger gain control over you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a mighty foothold to the devil.” Ephesians 4:26-27 NLT. Unchecked, anger damages – even ruins – lives, families, and friendships.

The emotion itself is not wrong, but the origin of anger and manner of expressing it can go horribly wrong. Anger is a doorway through which the worst of your flesh proudly walks. Anger is unrighteous if inconsistent with God’s nature and ways, does not serve God’s purpose for yours or others’ lives, or surrenders control of your passions, words, and actions to something other than the Holy Spirit. Anger begets violence and can be destructive, whether verbal, emotional, or physical. See Genesis 4:6-7 NLT.

Yet God is described in the Bible as being angry. He was angry when Israel turned from God to idols. But know this about God: “His anger is but for a moment; His favor is for life.” Psalm 30:5. “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.” Psalm 103:8. “. . full of compassion, slow to anger.” Psalm 145:8. “. . slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm.” Joel 2:13. Anger, when balanced by virtues of God’s character, will remain righteous in its expression. The discipline of spiritual restraint controls the emotion of anger without sinning.

Righteous anger is in harmony with God’s emotions of strong displeasure with sin and wrong. There are many things that should make good people righteously angry. You should not be passive about wrongdoing, such as when the powerful take advantage of the weak, when the rich abuse the poor, when the wicked prey on the helpless. Those things make God righteously angry, and should arouse a holy passion for fairness and righteousness in you.

Sadly, most of the anger with which you will contend is not about God or others, but is aroused when your own will has been denied or your rights have been ignored. In that regard, this is God’s counsel: “My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Your anger can never make things right in God’s sight.” James 1:19-20 NLT. That’s good, practical advice.

When you take time to really listen and restrain your words, anger is less likely, more readily managed, and expressed profitably. Solomon wisely said, “It is better to be patient than powerful; it is better to have self-control than to conquer a city.” Proverbs 16:32. Nothing could be truer, or wiser, or more practical than that. Anger is an emotional symptom of losing self-control in a situation.

My prayer for you today is that you will handle your strong passions with caution.

110308

Devotionals , , , , , , , , , ,