To Be or Not To Be—Angry
I’m not trying to re-write Scripture, but I think it would have been a good idea to split Ephesians 4:26 into two separate passages: “Be ye angry, and sin not…” Yes, the apostle Paul lets us know that it really is okay to “be angry”, i.e, to experience this emotion of protest that says: “something is wrong here”, “somebody just violated my expectation, blocked my goal, harmed or disadvantaged someone I care about, etc.” So whether it’s a rotten boss, a malfunctioning computer, or other displeasing circumstance, many Christians try to deny their anger because they deem it ungodly to acknowledge the negative feelings associated with our displeasure. However, our anger when managed properly can motivate us to stand up for ourselves or to fight injustice.
Of course, there are others who are not so pious in their attitude toward anger; thus, they proceed to violate the second admonition: “sin not”. Here is where we get into big trouble—taking God’s job by avenging wrongful treatment. Guilty? Try these tips for sidestepping a sinful response:
- Know your triggers and develop a plan for dealing with a violation.
- Give offenders the benefit of the doubt; extend the same grace you’d like to receive.
- Reevaluate your expectations. Ask a trusted friend or advisor if they are unreasonable.
When we send anger underground to the dark room of our soul, it can only produce resentment. It’s best to face it and respond in an assertive, God-honoring way.