Is There Anger Within?
Anger is extremely dangerous for the child of God. The apostle Paul, in his letter to the church in Ephesus wrote, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” (Ephesus 4:26-27, ESV) The apostle Paul did not instruct Christians not to become angry. He told Christians not to allow their anger to create an opportunity to sin, an opportunity for the devil. All Christians must consider Paul’s warning with the utmost gravity. Let us take a little time to consider several passages which make clear the reasoning behind Paul’s warnings.
Solomon understood the dangers of uncontrolled anger. Solomon knew that a quick temper can cause a person to act in a foolish way. Solomon wrote, “A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, And a man of wicked intentions is hated.” (Proverbs 14:17) In the same chapter, Solomon continues, “He who is slow to wrath has great understanding, But he who is impulsive exalts folly.” (Proverbs 14:29) Although controlling one’s anger is much more profitable and wise, there are times when some people are unwilling to put forth the necessary effort. At those times of inattentiveness to the control of one’s anger, foolishness will abound within that person’s actions.
Another danger inherent to uncontrolled anger is causing others to became equally angry. Solomon wrote, “A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1) Later in the chapter, Solomon would again write, “A wrathful man stirs up strife, But he who is slow to anger allays contention.” (Proverbs 15:18) Quite often, when people are engulfed in anger, they fail to realize how their angered actions will affect other people. It is very possible that a person’s angered words or actions will prompt an equal response from other people. Just as Solomon wrote, harsh words will stir up anger and a man full of wrath will stir up strife. It is important for every child of God to heed Solomon’s instructions, being slow to anger and always giving a soft answer.
Anger and wrath also serves as snares (or traps) to a Christian’s soul. Again, we turn to the wisdom of Solomon. Solomon wrote, “Make no friendship with an angry man, And with a furious man do not go, Lest you learn his ways And set a snare for your soul.” (Proverbs 22:24-25) There is a two-fold problem with being friends with one who does not control his anger: 1) You can succumb to the influence of this angry person. Consider children who are greatly influenced by their parents. Children will see the emotional outbursts of their angered parents and grow up thinking that it is acceptable to respond in such a fashion. 2) There is also the danger of the angry friend turning loose his wrath on you. Like a ticking time bomb, you may not know when you will be the next victim of your friends verbal or even physical assaults.
There are several more passages in the book of Proverbs which address the dangers of anger. However, let us turn our attention back to Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus. In Ephesians 4:31-32 we read, “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32) Paul instructed the brethren to put away from their lives those angered emotions and responses. He told the saints to put away from their lives all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking. The saints were to fill the void with actions of kindness, tenderheartedness, and forgiveness. In his letter to the church in Colosse, Paul wrote in similar words, “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth . . . Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” (Colossians 3:8,12-13)
Christians will never be able to avoid every situation that would prompt anger. However, Christians can and must remain in control of how they react to when angry. Christians must never act quickly when facing anger. Christians must weigh every action or word to make certain that they do not sin against the heavenly Father as well as sin against another person. Remember the words of Solomon when he wrote, “Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, For anger rests in the bosom of fools.” (Ecclesiates 7:9)