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Being Sinfully Angry is a Choice

By Dr. Don Dunlap
Pastoral Counselor
As children of God we must practice “putting away” anger.


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Because anger is such an intense emotion, we tend to think of it as something that overtakes us in a moment of weakness. The truth is, however, that unless we yield ourselves to anger it is powerless to overwhelm us. In the seventh article of a 10-part series on anger, Dr. Don Dunlap encourages readers to refuse to allow anger to overcome and embitter their lives. In the words of Proverbs 29:8, "A wise man turns away anger."

A city without walls is defenseless and vulnerable to all sorts of evil. So, too, are Christians who have resigned themselves to having an angry spirit. God is displeased with them, and their families and friends dread being near them. Furthermore, Satan makes a mockery of them.

Christians must not allow their emotions to govern them.

Because anger is such an intense emotion, we tend to think of it as something that overtakes us in a moment of weakness. The truth is, however, that unless we yield ourselves to anger it is powerless to overwhelm us.

 

We choose to allow anger to get the upper hand and take control of our mind and our conduct. Satan uses our anger to discredit our Christian testimony. God commands us to walk in a manner worthy of our calling, regardless of how we feel about a person or a situation.

 

We face an ever-present temptation to live for ourselves rather than for God. We must, therefore, pray constantly and depend on the Holy Spirit for the grace and power to deal biblically with anger.

We cannot possibly maintain an angry heart and a prayerful heart, simultaneously.

 

When we allow bitterness and anger to overcome us, we disobey God’s command to rejoice in all things. We fail to maintain a heart of gratitude toward God for the difficult circumstances in which we find ourselves. Most of all we neglect to pray. We are too busy grumbling against God to fall to our knees and cry out for His mercy and His wisdom in the matter that has angered us.

 

Our thoughts, words and actions reveal our inner thoughts. If we are in the habit of judging other people, we have failed to deal biblically with our anger. God instructs us to “judge not” our brothers and sisters. He is a competent judge, and the only One qualified to weigh the motives and the intents of our heart. When we speak angrily of people who have offended us, we announce publicly that we are living to please ourselves.

The Bible compares strife to rushing water. We should heed God’s advice to abandon a quarrel before it breaks out.

God wants His children to be mediators of peace, not instigators of contention and strife. We read in Proverbs 14:29,

He who is slow to anger has great understanding.

Again, in Proverbs 29:8 we learn, “A wise man turns away anger.” He is, in other words, a wise peacemaker. He has the God-given ability to pacify someone who has a contentious spirit.

The Apostle Paul provides a checklist in Galatians 5:19-21 for Christians who sincerely desire to walk in obedience to God,

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

 

As children of God we must practice “putting away anger” and “laying it aside.” We should pray that the Holy Spirit would reinforce our determination to forsake the deeds of the flesh.

 

We ought to make a commitment to God that we will do everything possible to deal with our anger biblically each day, “before the sun goes down on our wrath.”

 

 




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