I read a blog on anger by ‘in the outer’. Interesting post. Now I know it is hard for y’all to believe, but I have have struggled with the problem of anger all my life. It has cost me much.
I would say that it vies with slothfulness as my besetting sin. So I do alot of obsessing about anger. I am actively trying to rid myself of ‘wrong’ anger, because it is very destructive. In some ways it is killing me. Literally.
I think the post is very worthwhile to read, it adds to the thinking process on a problematic subject. I have some things that I believe I would add to the discourse.
” how can we be angry, and not sin? I guess one might point out that Jesus was talking about hatred and not anger. There is a lot of difference between the two, of course. Yet, how can one be angry without sinning? Where do we draw the line? “
I think we have to go through a number of steps in order to not sin through anger.
First, we have to own up to it. Face that we are indeed angry and why. Then we have to deal with it. That means place it in context and start resolving it within ourselves. If we don’t we build up anger accounts that can become wrath annuities… to explode with unexpected return when we least expect it. Or at the very least, get us into trouble. And that is what the sinning is: crossing over the line. when we have anger that we don’t know the full motivation of we can strike out unfairly or over harshly. Then we end up sinning without even being aware, or if not unaware, out of control.
That is what thebloke said here
I find that by being more aware of how I am responding to my day-to-day events and to the incidents that I come across daily, I am more aware of what ticks me off, or what pushes my button. Then I am able to find alternative means of responding to similar situations.
We should deal with anger quickly and understand when it arises for a specific reason. It neutralizes its power. I think the admonition that it be before sundown is so we don’t have time to push it down and ignore it, to fool ourselves that we are handling it. We are simply hiding it in a fermentation tank. Not a good thing.
This helps tremendously with depression, too, I think. I read somewhere that depression is just anger turned inwards. I think that is true.
People also talk about “righteous anger” in relation to this passage, [Jesus in the Temple]
There are not many cases where righteous anger flares like this. But in all righteous anger there is a focused action of protecting something. In response to evil having gone too far, but at the same time with a response that is within ones rightful authority. Besides this case of Jesus Christ in the Temple, there is the OT example of Phinehas and the example between the testaments of Mattathias Maccabee. So I think we know that there is such a thing as righteous anger, but know few with the self-disipline to carry it out.
It isn’t something we should believe ourselves exhibiting -as a rule. Simply because while some things might merit such anger, if our motivations are at all mixed, most likely we won’t fail to sin, ourselves. The two wrongs don’t make a right maxim in effect.
Removing The Stinger
The main antidote is probably this admonition from thebloke
I know I need God when I get unrighteously angry – when my anger is a result of my own frustrations, my own stupidity and my own arrogance. But when I get righteously angry – when I am triggered to emotions of anger at injustice, sin and ungodliness – then I need Him more than before.
I do agree with this, but for those, who like me have tried this many times and have had a deeper struggle… I would like to say this about anger.
Anger is a contagion. Some of us have been subjected to anger throughout our formative years, or for long periods of time from others. It has created wounds of hurt that result in our own damaging hostilities. Sometimes along with taking it to God for help, one needs healing for the wounds, as well. God once described these to me as unseen bruises and wounds which when other people bumped against created responses all out of proportion to what the other might have expected. They didn’t know that was a deeply hurt place. No one could have. Except God. And God is the one able to heal all those bruises. Christ was wounded for those bruises.
God has grace sufficient for all our needs, and this is our hope. The warning in order for anger is that it is the one sin which the Bible says gives the devil a place of authority in our lives. Yes, in Christian lives. That is what that last part of the verse means: “In your anger do not sin : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold”.
2 Tim. 2
“But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. 24And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.”
Taken captive at his will is the KJV quote “And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”
Who wants to allow for that? To be healed, to be overcoming our weakness… to be in charge of ourselves and our destiny, I believe this is the gift that God wants to give us.
It just costs some humility and some personal emotional work under the hand of God.
And I hope it helps to take care of my rising blood pressure as well! Which allows for a little addendum here. Mild exercise is one way to deal with angry emotions, and while it is not spiritual sounding, it is one thing to try. And getting enough rest isn’t a bad idea either.