It’s Monday Grace!
I’m a Christian, but I get angry. I know anger is a sin, but what am I supposed to do with those feelings? How does grace relate to anger?
Anger is a natural emotion. God gave it to us, just as He did sadness, joy, fear, and the rest. It has a purpose in our lives. It moves us to action. It produces adrenalin to give us both physical and emotional strength. Sometimes anger is the only thing that can motivate a person to make a change. Anger is not only useful, it can be good for us.
But it can also be dangerous. Dangerous for us and for others. We must be in control of it.
We have been told that we can’t control our emotions, that trying to do that is both futile and false. But I don’t think that’s true. Controlling our emotions is a process of submitting to the truth we have learned about ourselves and our Lord. We might not be fully able to dictate which emotion will pop into our hearts, but we can decide what freedom to give that emotion when it appears.
Consider this: we are told to get rid of anger in our lives.
Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.
Notice that it doesn’t say to avoid the feelings, but to put them away. We may not be able to avoid the feeling, but we can decide what to do with it. Anger, in this verse and others like it, is a passionate desire for vengeance. You might need anger to help you decide to go “no-contact,” for example, but you don’t need vengeance to be happy or healthy. Once anger has served its purpose be done with it.
That’s the sense of this verse:
Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.
Anger is normal, hatred and vengeance are not, not for you. You are a person of peace and kindness, because of Jesus. His Spirit is in you to control even your emotions.
So, be slow to get angry. It isn’t always needed.
He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
And, when you do get angry, be quick to get rid of it. Don’t let it hurt you or others.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret–it only causes harm.
Under grace, anger is a tool. It has a purpose, but it is also dangerous. Use it under the Spirit’s control. You wouldn’t use a hammer to fix your watch or whip cream. Carrying anger as your only tool will cause problems. Instead, your relationship with Jesus has opened the door for all kinds of tools in your life. Most of them will serve you better and more often than anger.
Is anger a sin? Not if you handle it according to the Spirit. But it can certainly lead to sin. So, don’t let it. Ask for help. Pray. Submit your anger to the Lord.
And don’t listen to those who say anger is bad always. It simply isn’t. Even God gets angry.