Sunset at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Dealing with anger before it can control you

I hate misunderstandings, don’t you? I really think most of the problems between people can be solved by reducing misunderstandings because so many times people hurt each other and don’t realize it. And then, the person who gets hurt is afraid to speak up and say anything about it, so the situation never changes. And it just continues in one vicious cycle until both sides end up bitter and resentful.

Sunset at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Sunset at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Today’s verses are Ephesians 4:26-27.

And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.

Anger is one of those strange emotions that can be both positive or negative depending on how you react to it. It isn’t a bad emotion just by virtue of what it is. It’s an emotion that everyone feels or will feel at some point in their life. We just have to decide now (when we’re not angry) how we’re going to handle it when it does come up, and this passage is a good thought to keep in mind.

Anger can come on quickly, and if you’re not prepared for it, you’ll react to it by lashing out and hurting others around you. Maybe you want to do that, and maybe the people around you deserve it, but that’s not how a Christ-follower is supposed to behave. Make the decision now to not let anger control you. When you feel it, recognize it and take steps to manage it. Don’t hide it. Don’t deny it. Deal with it. Because the longer you sit on it, the worse it will get.

That’s why I think this advice is really good. Don’t end the day still angry. And what I think is interesting is that the word angry has some other meanings, according to the Amplified Version. It means anger or fury, but it also means indignation or exasperation. So this isn’t just talking about anger because you’ve been mistreated. It also means that you shouldn’t end the day if you’ve still got frustrations bottled up inside you.

Why? Well, it says why. The longer you sit and stew on those negative emotions, the more opportunity you give Satan in your life. He’s always looking for a way in, and focusing on those negative emotions opens the door just a crack. Enough for him to reach in and poke at your life.

That’s the last thing you need. Life has enough trouble on its own without inviting trouble from our enemy!

So the next time you’re angry or frustrated, step back and calm down. Think about it, yes, but don’t think too long. Granted, it does depend on the situation.

I think this is interesting, and I’m not sure if I understand it entirely. But the part of this verse that says, “t sin by letting anger control you,” is actually pulled from the Old Testament.

Psalm 4:4

Don’t sin by letting anger control you.
    Think about it overnight and remain silent.

My first thought when I read that was shock because that looks like a contradiction. The Old Testament says think about your anger overnight. The New Testament says deal with your anger before the sun goes down. What?

And I don’t know if this is right or not, but I looked at who wrote each of these passages. Paul wrote Ephesians. David wrote Psalm 4. (Both of them were writing under the inspiration of God, of course.) Any of you who know the Bible may already know where I’m going.

The personality differences between Paul and David are massive. They’re like opposite sides of the same coin. Paul was a scholar, an educated man, polite and appropriate and respected. David was a shepherd. Yes, he was a king, but he was also a warrior and an artist. Paul and David were both passionate in different ways.

For Paul’s personality, it was probably better to deal with his anger and frustration immediately after he recognized it. For David, if he’d tried to deal with his anger immediately, he’d probably make things worse because he hadn’t gotten over it himself yet. Either way, both means of dealing with frustration prevent anger from calling the shots.

The key is to recognize when you’re getting angry or frustrated, and whether you decide to deal with it immediately or let some time pass so you can cool off doesn’t matter. Notice the Psalm says think about it overnight, so don’t think about it longer than that. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to address.

But you have to do it.

Your relationships are worth it. Your own sanity is worth it. Don’t hold on to anger or frustration. Deal with it. Work through it. Talk about it with the person who hurt you, and you’ll probably discover that they didn’t mean to. Or you’ll discover that you hurt them to start off with. That’s how human relationships work, friends. We’re all screwed up.

So let’s cut each other a break. Value your relationships enough to talk about the misunderstandings. And even if you don’t sort everything out, at least you will know where your own heart stands and so will they.

Peace of mind is something you can’t buy, and when your mind and heart are at peace, Satan can’t get in.