Monday, October 25 2021 - 7:36 AM
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Anger and Sin

I was nearing a toll booth at a turnpike off-ramp. I wasn’t trying to be rude, but I unintentionally cut in front of another car. Not thinking much about it, I suddenly became aware that the driver of the other vehicle had pulled up beside me. I have never seen someone so furious as that man was that day. I had cut him off, and now he was exhibiting a full-blown case of road rage.

Anger is not just something for the road. We’re confronted with it in nearly every aspect of our lives. But perhaps nowhere is it more often exhibited than at home. Anger is often the cause of violence, crime, spouse and child abuse, divorce, stormy relationships, poor working conditions, and poor health.

If we would only implement the suggestion found in Ephesians 4:26, it would save us men (and women too) a lot of serious trouble. The verse says, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down on your wrath.” This text presents an interesting challenge because, while it seems to be permitting us to be angry, it says that while we are angry, we must not sin. The text has yet another caveat. That is that we must not carry forward a balance of anger from one day to the next.

You Can’t  Get There From Here

The text reminds me of the story of a guy who was trying to find his way around New York City. He asked a local for directions to a particular place, and the guy said, “Sure, Buddy. Go to the third light and turn right. No, better yet, hang a left at the next corner and go three blocks. Wait a minute, do a U-turn and go back about six blocks, then …. No, that’s not right, either. Come to think of it; you can’t get there from here.”

If the text suggests that we can be angry, but we can’t sin, and we can’t be mad from one day to the next, then it sounds like what it is saying is that it’s better not to have anger as one of our operational options. We don’t need to get into a complicated discussion about anger and all of its implications. You already know how anger can easily ruin your quality of life and make the lives of others a living hell.

Personally, I have discovered that when I get angry, I am giving up the moral high ground, and at that point, I am not able to make a very positive contribution to any problem. In other words, I have found that when I get angry, it is difficult not to sin, which, of course, according to the text, is out of bounds.

Anger inevitably affects marriages. Every marriage has its share of problems, but have you noticed that we don’t usually get around to trying to solve them until we get angry, and then the result usually only makes matters worse.

There is nothing quite like anger for its effect on the entire family because when we are angry, we usually hurt the people closest to us. The results are alienation, grief, and, in the case of domestic violence, physical and emotional pain.

Douse the Flames

Here’s something I’ll throw out to you. You can take it or leave it. I have discovered that prayer has the same effect on my temper as water has on fire. When I feel anger in my gut (that seems to be where I feel it first), I begin to pray. That way I don’t suppress my anger, I extinguish it! The problems that cause our anger cannot be solved when we are in the middle of a mad. So when we are angry “with cause,” the first task is to get rid of the anger and then get on with addressing what brought it on.

If you’re having trouble with your car, mixing sand with the oil will only make it worse. Are you having problems in your life? Experience confirms that anger doesn’t solve problems; it only makes them worse.

Some men don’t like to read the Bible because it seems to use old-fashioned language. Take, for instance, the text that says, “Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools” (Ecclesiastes 7:9). But let me put the text into modern English. It is saying that the guy that flies off the handle all the time has to be an idiot!

Hey, we can’t always control what happens to us, but we can, with God’s help, control the way we respond. Don’t be an idiot!

If you liked this, you might also like An Unforgettable Day | When Your Anger Gets the Best of You 

Written by Richard OF’fill.

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About Richard O'Ffill

Richard O'Ffill

has written many articles and books.

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