Thursday, March 9, 2023

             Anger can be debilitating.  And anger can be dangerous.  And the Bible contains many warnings against letting anger take control of your life.  Psalm 37:8 says that we are to refrain from anger and to turn from wrath.  Colossians 3:8 says we are to rid ourselves of anger if it is a problem in our lives.  James 1:19 says we are to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.  Maybe the most significant teaching about anger in the Bible comes from Paul in Ephesians 4:26-27.  We read, “’In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”  In just those two verses, the Bible gives us some helpful guidance about anger.  First, we can be angry without sinning.  For example, Jesus was angry when he cleansed the temple of money-changers and those who saw prayer and worship as for-profit activities or ventures.  There will be times when we are angry at sin and sinful behavior.  But we are not to be sinful in expressing our anger.  We never confront sin with more sin.  We can be angry at the same things that make the Lord angry—sin, wickedness, injustice, exploitation of others and evil.  But we are not to sin when we feel anger.  Control your anger rather than letting anger control you.
            Second, the Bible warns against lingering anger.  A good motto to follow is not going to bed angry or, as the Bible says, not to “let the sun go down while you are still angry.”  Lingering anger can very quickly turn into bitterness, resentment and even hatred.  If we stew in anger, we can easily say things that we will regret or destroy relationships that may not be easily fixed or repaired.  Many families have been devastated by anger that has persisted for years or decades.  Anger that lingers can easily consume and infect us much like a wound that has become infected because it has gone untreated for too long.
            Third, anger can become a foothold for the devil’s work or activities.  Satan loves to establish strongholds or anchors in our lives from which he can go to work in even more sinister ways.  Lust can lead to slavery to pornography.  Greed or the love of money can easily lead to stealing what belongs to someone else.  Anger can easily lead to us engaging in even worse behavior.  Anger can create ill-feelings in your life where you are eager to take advantage of others or to pay back someone for what they have done.  You would never want to let a couple of cockroaches into your home.  Two roaches can easily become two thousand and soon your home is infected.  Likewise, anger can become a foothold for Satan to infect your life in more dangerous and disturbing ways.  Guard against anger!  The Lord warns us because He knows what the consequences can look like. 
            Fourth, remember that anger can be treated by the grace of God.  Anger can be left at the cross for the Lord’s blood and forgiveness to cleanse.  Anger can be healed when we give it to the Lord and His power.  You may have a history of being a hothead or one who has a hair-trigger temper.  But that old way of living does not have to define you or remain with you.  God can change an angry man or woman just as much as He can change any other kind of sin, lifestyle or habit.  Extended time in God’s Word and prayer can be two excellent ways for managing your anger and seeing it lessen as an influence in your life.  We are not to tell ourselves “well, that’s just the way I am.”  We may be that way but we do not have to stay that way.  And if we stay that way, it is by choice and not necessity.    
            Have a great Thursday and weekend ahead!  Join us this Sunday for Bible study and worship.  Remember we will also enjoy our communal lunch after worship.  Bring a couple of dishes to share with others while the church provides the drinks and tables.  And remember our worship can always be shared or revisited at   

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