I don’t consider myself an angry person, in fact quite the opposite. But, surviving a pandemic, being at home with children for 10 months–well, let’s just be honest, some days just dealing with the stress of every day life, I do get angry from time to time.
Anger itself is not sinful but can quickly lead to sinful expressions. For this reason, Paul wrote to the Ephesians,
“‘In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” Ephesians 4:26
There are times when we become angry, yet we are called to express our anger in non-sinful, constructive ways. Love will guide us in the proper handling of anger. Jesus himself was angry on at least one occasion:
“He looked around at them in anger . . . deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts.”
Rather than pretend that we will never feel angry, scripture simply says to be slow to become angry, like God. Scripture also tells us that love is not easily angered.
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,”
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Last year, (2020) I set a goal to not be easily angered. I qualified that by saying I would try to only be angered by the things that anger the Lord. So, things that are an offense to God or the result of a world plagued by sin—poverty, injustice, prejudice, adultery, greed, etc. My goal was to join God in God’s own lament over issues of sin. Everything else, I would categorize as preferences, annoyances or inconveniences. An example of this would be choosing the wrong check out lane at the grocery store, being cut off in traffic, or a drive thru messing up your order. I decided that I would let those things go and not be angered by them.
I was really blessed by striving towards that goal. Over time, I was able to quickly reframe experiences and I got better and better at not sweating the small stuff.
Are you easily angered? How might God be leading you in this area? If this isn’t an area of struggle for you, how might you exemplify being slow to anger for others?