‘Don’t sin by letting anger control you.’ Ephesians 4:26 NLT
Uncontrolled anger is like jumping into your car, revving the engine, and discovering too late that the brakes don’t work. The Bible says, ‘Don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life’ (vv. 26-27 MSG). Did you get that? Uncontrolled anger opens the door to Satan – and it’s all downhill from there! So before you say something you’ll regret and can’t take back, ask yourself: 1) Is the relief I’ll get from venting worth the aftermath? The Bible says, ‘A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger’ (Proverbs 15:1 NIV 2011 Edition). By sounding off, you run the risk of making the finest speech you’ll ever regret. By its very nature anger encourages exaggeration, and makes you say things you can’t retract. Long after you’ve moved on, harsh words maintain their power to wound and divide. 2) Is it really worth dragging other people into it? Anger inevitably affects those around you because it’s human to want to take sides, even if you’ve ‘no dog in the fight’. Involving other people is usually a way to feed your ego and justify bad behaviour. Don’t do it. 3) Is my anger appropriate? Anger over ignorance and injustice has always led to progress. But it’s easy to let small stuff like thoughtless comments and cranky kids make you overreact. For anger to have a healthy result it needs to be measured and constructive. Paul says, ‘The mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace’ (Romans 8:6 NIV 2011 Edition). It comes down to a control issue, and a controlled response is a Christlike response. It always wins.