A Course in Anger Management
Key Verse to Read and Treasure
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger (Ephesians 4:26, ESV)
Have you ever thought of Paul’s counsel about anger as a course in anger management? He tells us how we need to deal with our anger in a healthy way and in a manner that is not only biblically and scripturally correct, but relationally, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually sound. Without the ability to manage our anger well, anger has the ability to consume us and be a powerful force for destruction in our lives, our marriage, familial relationships, workplace, and faith community relationships.
On one hand anger is a very natural emotion—given to us by God when he made us in his image. It was to serve us for good purposes. That’s because at times and in certain situations anger is a very healthy reaction to something that is not right, unjust, and unhealthy and teetering on abuse. Anger can help open our eyes and motivate us to make needed changes in our lives and circumstances. On the flip side it can also be a tool the devil uses to manipulate us and use for his good and purposes. Paul, like several others in the Bible counseled on anger so we could understand better what to do and how to act when we become angry.
In his letter to the Ephesians Paul simply repeats what David had prayed in Psalm 4. Anger in and of itself is not a sin, it’s what we do in anger that can promote sin. Just like temptation is not a sin; but how we handle and respond to temptation that could promote sin. When we are angry, we are not to sin. If you are angry about something first examine your heart and motives. If it’s legitimate and you are able confront the person (in a loving and respectful way of course) do your best to talk it out in a civil manner, spend time in prayer about the matter. If you’re having a difficult time letting, go or getting past your anger talk to God about it so it does not become a heart issue. If it’s something you can change to make things better, do that, but if it’s a matter you can’t control, remove yourself from it as much as possible. More than anything put your trust in God to make necessary changes or bring a peaceful resolve. Because anger is like an umbrella with many prongs the Bible provides a way to deal with it that no matter why we are angry we can do things do take control of our anger, make sure it does not cause us to sin, and assure we do not become an instrument of the devil for even further destruction.
Praying Ephesians 4:26
Lord, thank you for reminding me that anger, in and of itself is not sin, but the way I deal with it can lead to sin, so I need to be careful and make sure I follow your instructions to manage anger and that way I won’t give the devil a foothold with my emotions, actions or heart, but instead glorify you. Amen