Scripture Focus: In your anger, do not sin. Do not allow the sun to set while you are still angry. Ephesians 4:26
Two people are fighting, but one is visibly calmer than the other. As the battle unfolds, the calm partner eventually shouts out this question: “Why are you so angry?”
Then the other partner, boiling with rage, yells back: “I’M NOT ANGRY!”
All of us tend to recognize anger in others. It’s easy to spot in body language, in tone of voice, and in facial expressions. We know anger when we see it in others --- but we may not recognize it when it occurs in ourselves.
Recognizing our own anger is especially hard for some of us in the holiness tradition. Sanctified to the core, we no longer believe we are capable of anger. A previous generation liked to speak of becoming “righteously indignant” --- but not angry.
The truth is --- all of us get angry. Some of us are much slower to anger than others. Others of us boil over with very little excuse or provocation. Yet anger, per se, is neither sinful nor unhelpful. Anger reveals an issue or a problem that needs our attention.
The problem with anger is this – we lose control. We get angry, then blurt out horrible things that we don’t really mean. Once we’ve said those things, it’s very hard to take them back --- and the person who heard them will always remember. When we fail to properly control our anger, we say and do things that hurt other people. We are angry, and we go on from there to sin against our brother, sister, co-worker, friend, or spouse.
When you find yourself becoming angry in a situation, learn to invite God’s presence into your heart and mind. Learn to ask God to help you deal with your anger wisely; ask God to help you express your opinions in the right way. Let anger be guided by self-control, one of the most useful and needed fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:23).
For your personal reflection: