Anger

In Colossians 3:8 we are told “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.”  In Galation 5:19-21 we are told that “outbursts of wrath” are among the sins that can keep us out of the kingdom of God.  We are further  told that “the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God” (James 1:20)  With these verses in mind we are right to be concerned about anger.  Anger is not listed among the fruits of the Spirit, but among the works of the flesh.  (Galatians 5:19-23)

However, if you have read the Old Testament, you will have read about God’s anger.  God was angry with Moses, (Deut 1:37) Solomon, ( I Kings 11:9) the nation of Israel, (IIKings 17:18)  and others.  Since we believe that God does not sin, anger in itself must not be a sin.  

I believe that there are two aspects with which we should concern ourselves regarding anger.  The source of our anger, and the action inspired by our anger. 

I strongly suspect that most of our anger is rooted in our flesh.  That anger is wrong.  Only if our anger is inspired by a reaction of the Spirit would that anger be justified.  I am reluctant to even mention that possibility, because I can imagine all kinds of people justifying their anger as “godly rage” or “righteous indignation”.  I suspect that far more often our anger is rooted in the flesh and is a sinful response to people or events.

Anger of either source is a real part of our lives.  We may not be able to help our feelings, but we still have control of our actions.  Ephesians 4:26 tells us “Be angry but do not sin, do not let the sun go down on your wrath.”  I believe that this means two things.  We are to not let anger control us.  We still choose the things that we do and say.  We should think about our actions and our words and ask ourselves if the way that we responding is in “the flesh” or “the spirit”.   I also believe that this means that we should not just stifle our anger.  If we are angry we need to find an appropriate outlet for that anger.  We should choose an outlet that will not be hurtful to ourselves or others.  Actually, if we respond correctly, anger can provide motivation for helpful, corrective action.  Unfortunately, far too often, that is not the case.

May God help us to be the people he wants us to be.  May we learn to deal appropriately with anger.

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2 Responses to “Anger”

  1. Gloria Says:

    to be angry and sin not — that is a huge challenge. the flesh can so easily get in the way

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