Ephesians 4:26: “BE angry and yet do not sin, do not let the sun go down on your anger.”
This verse has always fascinated me, because if there is anything I had heard most of my life, it was that it was definitely not godly to be angry. I would love to say that I have mastered the skill of never sinning in my anger, but I don’t think that is the case. Matter of fact, if you ask my husband, he will tell you stories of horns that grow out of my head, smoke that comes out of my ears, and a very scary and throaty voice that appears. If you ask my children, they will describe me as getting “gansta” when I get mad, and it usually involves some sort of threat.
For some, your angry feeling is not manifested in horns, smoke, or “gansta.” Your angry feeling is manifested in seething, quiet pouting or self-pity, sarcasm, silent, deadly stares, or soft cutting words. Even still, some will deny having the feeling of anger, “I don’t get angry” is their statement, they argue that they never have feelings of anger and they never raise their voice.
Regardless of the manifestations or non-manifestations of your feelings of anger, anger exists. All of the manifestations listed above are simply demonstrations of your personality, and your history. Some of us are loud, some of us are quiet. Some of us have been in environments that told us we couldn’t be angry, or where anger was not accepted, so we have simply denied the existence of anger.
If you are a human, you feel anger.
It exists and manifests differently in us all and most of us have bought into the lie that our culture has taught us; anger is real only when it is loud, expressive, or out of control. The truth is you can be deeply angry and be expressing it through extreme attempts to control and you can be deeply angry and denying it and defending it through sarcasm or passive aggressive behavior.
So if we all have anger, how do we practice what the Bible tells us? “Be angry and do not sin.” AND “Be slow to anger.” The Bible mentions the word anger in the New American Standard Version alone over 270 times. Jesus describes Himself as angry a handful of times, and some of the most incredible men of God express anger throughout the Bible.
It almost seems like there are contradictions all over the place, but if we look closer, that is not the case. We know that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, and that His strength is made perfect in our weakness. So could it be that we could BE angry, have angry feelings and not sin. The BIBLE says YES YOU CAN!!
One of the first ways you do this is to see the value in your angry feelings:
Recognize that anger is a powerful tool when yielded to God’s strength and power.
Anger lets you know you have been violated or a boundary has been crossed.
Anger lets you know something needs to be tended to and surrendered to God.
Anger lets you know God wants to work in and through something.
Anger lets you know that change needs to take place.
Many of us have convinced ourselves that we are never angry; this is the fullness of self-deception and a lack of self-awareness. In situations like this, we have allowed ourselves to believe the myth that to feel angry is wrong and therefore unacceptable in our lives. As long as you continue to deny the feelings of anger, it will spill over in all sorts of places you are not even aware of, but everyone else sees.
When you take ownership and state, “I am angry,” you have taken the first step toward yielding your anger to His strength and power. Stay tuned for the next blog because we are going to discuss how to process that anger with God and others, but NOT sin. For now, next time you feel smoke ready to come out of your ears, a “gansta” voice coming on, self-pity or sarcasm. STOP, breathe, and take ownership of your anger. Identify it, recognize it, and begin to examine it. Some of your greatest truths and revelation from God lie within it.