“In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry…”
— Ephesians 4:26
A common misunderstood belief of Christians is that anger is always a sin. This can’t be true because Jesus demonstrates that He was prone to anger when he was confronted in the temple by spiritual leaders. They questioned Jesus as to whether He was willing to break the Law by healing a man’s shriveled hand on the Sabbath. His response? “He looked at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, ‘stretch out your hand’.” (Mark 3:5)
The truth is, anger is an emotion… it’s an emotion we were created with by none other than God Himself. It’s an emotion that usually gives little to no warning of it’s arrival, and once it surfaces becomes almost uncontrollable. For this reason, Paul encourages us, “in your anger” or when the emotion of anger comes upon you, “do not sin.” Being angry is not sinning but being angry can sure lead to a lot of sin. In this moment Jesus was likely tempted to allow His anger to become sinful towards the religious leaders, but He didn’t. He kept the more urgent need, and the more lasting result in mind… the healing of the man’s hand.
This week you will be challenged with how you will handle your emotion of anger. You will be challenged to not let your anger become sin… either the sin of impatience behind the wheel; yelling or belittling a family member; or harboring sinful thoughts in your mind towards someone that could possibly lead to physical action. When this moment arises, in your emotion of anger, do not sin. Think of the more urgent need… the spiritual lostness of the driver in front of you, or the emotional state of the friend you are about to yell at. Think also of the lasting result… the words you say, the tone you speak them in, the aggressiveness of your actions, you will never be able to take them back. You are not alone in your battle with your anger. The Spirit of God is living within you, empowering you to not only do what is right, but empowering you to abstain from doing what is wrong. In your angry moments, pray for the Spirit’s intervention.
– Pastor Chad Stoecker