For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
There are several tell-tale signs that help us identify a person who is angry. It may be expressed with a furrowed brow, clenched teeth, balled up fists, bulging veins, a tightened jaw, streams of tears, harsh words, the silent treatment, or the cold shoulder. Yesterday I had an angry day, and it was evident in my semi-permanent scowl. No one did anything to me, but I was upset with myself. We’d just returned from a terrific vacation, and I guess certain realities set in too quickly. I was tired, out of it, grumpy, and forgetful, and was basically having an off day. Not even the excitement of Alexandra’s first San Francisco Giants game could completely snap me out of my mood, and I struggled to figure out why I was so mad? A number of minor annoyances occured, but it was the realization that I’d left an important item at home that sent me spiraling over the edge. Moments before we were slated to begin our lovely family evening I completely broke down. I called to my husband and with my body shaking and tears welling in my eyes I proceeded to tell him what a loser I was and how stupid it was of me to forget. He assured me that everything was fine, but I preferred to beat myself up than accept his comfort. Only seconds passed (although it felt like longer), and with several deep breaths I wiped my eyes, shrugged my shoulders and finally decided to let it all go. I wanted to enjoy my night, but the only way to do so was to get rid of the funk and move on. We went on to have a fantastic time, but deep down I felt like a fool. I’d let my anger get the best of me, and a certain scripture played on repeat in my mind.
Ephesians 4:26-27 (NKJV)
“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.
This had me thinking. What does it mean to be angry without sin? How does God feel about our anger? Had my lack of self-control given the Enemy a foothold? In order to answer these questions I had to first gain a clearer understanding.
The Greek word for angry is orgizō and it means “to provoke or to arouse to anger”. Provoke means to “stimulate or give rise to (a reaction or emotion, typically a strong or unwelcome one) in someone”. The Greek word for sin is hamartanō and literally means “to miss the mark”. While addressing the church at Ephesus, Paul expressed that while anger is a natural human emotion it should never be a hinderance in our walk, causing us or someone else to stumble. Ouch. I’d definitely failed that test, and allowed my frustration to reign supreme.
As previously illustrated, anger comes in a variety of forms. The cause for such revved up emotion may be mistreatment, suffering an injustice, a disagreement with your spouse, being on the receiving end of gossip or harsh words (new post on this issue coming soon), financial troubles, work drama, or simply having a bad day. There are times that anger is justified, but we shouldn’t use those scenarios as an excuse to behave badly. I behaved badly because I’d forgotten the Holy Spirit power that dwells in me.
His example is the epitome of how we should handle ourselves when faced with such challenges. Our flesh wants that immediate reaction, but God wants us to stop, wait, and think before we speak. In Christ we are able to exhibit self-control, pray for our enemies, encourage ourselves as David did, and overcome evil with good. Being in Christ means we don’t allow circumstances to affect the principles of Godly living, and remaining consistent in our faith walk is a testament to our growth in Him. Feeling anger is not a crime, but it’s imperative that we think twice before expressing it in a detrimental way. Whether you’re prone to outbursts of wrath or holding it in until it bubbles over like a volcanic eruption, anger is an emotion that must be controlled lest it leads to undesired consequences. Look to the Lord for your answers.
Some additional verses to contemplate:
Proverbs 15:1 (NKJV) A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.
Psalm 103:8(NKJV) The Lord is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
Ephesians 4:31 (NKJV) Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.
Psalm 4:4-5 (NKJV) Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Selah Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, And put your trust in the Lord.
Proverbs 14:17 (NKJV) A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, And a man of wicked intentions is hated.
Ecclesiastes 7:9 (NKJV) Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, For anger rests in the bosom of fools.
Do you cope well with anger or let it consume you? How do you exhibit self-control?
Dealing with Anger…God’s Way by Joyce Meyer