Getting angry is like being splattered with mud. Sometimes we can avoid it by staying out of dirty places, but sometimes just being in this filthy world will put us in the splash zone. This week just before leaving work, I was hit with some massive muck. I spent the drive home getting angrier and angrier, and the Enemy had me boiling by the time I got home. When I had finally calmed down enough to see what the Bible says about anger, I realized something very important. There is a big difference between feeling anger and acting on it. And, as Christians, when we do get mad, the most important thing we can do is to avoid touching anything until we can be washed.
A Sideways Email and Some Sneaky Whispers
It started with an email late in the day. Instead of asking me directly for something that I’m always happy to share, a coworker sent a passive aggressive message about it that was both demanding and insulting. The first glob of anger hit me – splat!
“Lord,” I prayed as I gathered my belongings and headed out the door of my classroom. “I’m so mad right now. What does the Bible say about anger? I’m going to look that up when I get home.”
But on my commute, the enemy started his whispers. “You know anger is a sin, right? It’s a natural feeling that you can’t help because you’re a human being, but it’s a SIN. You’re bad because you’re human. Doesn’t that make you MAD?” And it did make me mad! In fact, the original injury of the email seemed to pale in comparison to the injustice of being “bad” for being human!
The Enemy Is a Liar
True to form, the enemy had twisted scripture and fed me a line that I had swallowed whole. By the time I got home, I was in quite a lather. In fact, I wasn’t able to calm down until I found the verses in the Bible that explained my situation clearly.
Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath Neither give place to the devil.”Ephesians 4:26-27
And this one that is like it.
Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.”Psalm 4:4
Being angry isn’t a sin. It’s what you do WHEN you are angry that is the real issue. The first verse says we shouldn’t do things that are sinful when we’re angry, and we shouldn’t hold on to that anger. Otherwise, that allows the devil to get a foothold in our lives. The second verse says, “stand in awe” in the King James version, but the phrase is Strong’s Concordance H7264 which means “to quiver with violent emotion.” Again, the emotion is not the problem; it’s what we do with it. This verse advises us to be still and think before we act.
The Mud Analogy
Thinking of anger like a splash of mud was helpful to me. I imagined standing on the sidewalk as a car whizzed by slinging a puddle of filth. With mud on my hands, down the front of my shirt, and even on my face, I had two choices. I could go around touching things (doorknobs, other people, and the clean parts of my own body), or I could freeze and carefully make my way to the nearest water source.
As Christians who are indwelt with the Holy Spirit and are striving to live godly lives pleasing to our Lord, we know that anger must be dealt with and fast. We can’t react to other people in anger, or that is like spreading mud on them and our environments. Spewing and stewing on things is like touching our own eyes or hair, getting us even dirtier than we were when we got hit.
Instead, we must allow the Lord to cleanse us by the washing of the water of the Word of God (Ephesians 5:26). We can ask the Holy Spirit, the living water (John 7:38-39), to show us a verse from scripture that will help us see our situation clearly. We can also pray for God to take away our anger and replace it with peace like a river (Isaiah 66:12). And, if we will just “be still” (like near the still waters of Psalm 23:2), that will allow time for our anger to dissipate before we make any moves.
What Else Does the Bible Say About Anger?
Don’t be quick to be angry.
These verses tell us that anger shouldn’t be a hair-trigger thing for Christians. We should be slow to anger and quick to get rid of it when we do get mad.
- Proverbs 14:17
- Proverbs 14:29
- Proverbs 15:18
- Proverbs 16:32
- Ecclesiastes 7:9
- 1 Corinthians 13:4-5
- James 1:19-20
Put anger away from you.
Dealing with anger quickly is key. We can’t stuff it down, denying its existence, or it might come back out at another time. Instead, we must bring it right out into light and ask God to help us get rid of it before it causes us more problems.
- Leviticus 19:17
- Psalm 37:8
- Proverbs 19:11
- Proverbs 29:8
- Matthew 5:22
- Romans 12:21
- Ephesians 4:31
- Colossians 3:8
- 1 Timothy 2:8
In the time between the original incident and the time when God helps us calm down, we can’t go around speaking and acting in anger. The Bible says those who do are foolish and just cause more trouble for themselves. Instead, we have to control our behavior until the anger has passed and we can think clearly.
- Proverbs 12:16
- Proverbs 21:23
- Proverbs 25:28
- Proverbs 29:11
- Proverbs 29:22
- Proverbs 30:33
Don’t provoke others/Live peaceably.
Sometimes anger can be avoided by not putting ourselves in a position where we are crossways with other people. We can also make sure we don’t spend a lot of time around people who get angry fast or often.
- Proverbs 15:1
- Proverbs 22:24
- Proverbs 27:15
- Romans 12:18
- Ephesians 6:4
- Philippians 2:14
- 2 Timothy 2:23-25
Don’t take matters into your own hands/Let God handle things.
Revenge should never be an option for Christians. We know that God is in control and vengeance belongs to Him alone. We just have to give the situation to God.
- Genesis 50:20
- Proverbs 20:22
- Romans 12:19
- 1 Peter 3:9
- 1 Peter 5:7
Love and Forgive Others Just Like God Loves and Forgives Us.
Finally, we must remember that nothing anyone has ever done to us will even come close to the amount of sins and trespasses we have made against our God. Just as God has forgiven us freely, we must also forgive others. We don’t fight against flesh and blood anyway (Ephesians 6:12). Many times it is just the Enemy using other people to hurt us, and he is hurting them in the process. We must love and pray for people, begging for God’s mercy on their behalf.
- Psalm 103:10-14
- Proverbs 10:12
- Matthew 6:14-15
- Matthew 18:21-22
- Mark 11:25
- Luke 6:27
- Luke 6:37
- Ephesians 4:32
- Colossians 3:13
- 1 John 1:9
What the Bible Says About Anger
The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.”Psalm 145:8
Anger is a natural emotion, and it is one that even God Himself feels at times. In fact, the Bible says that He is angry with the wicked every day (Psalms 7:11). For Christians, feeling anger at injustice or wickedness, whether done to ourselves or others, is not a sin. We just have to make sure that we control our behavior until we can deal with it effectively, and we must forgive everyone involved. Like getting hit with mud, sometimes it can’t be helped. But when we are splattered, we must freeze right where we are and be very careful not to let our words or actions spread the filth. Then we must proceed directly to our Water Source for cleansing.
If you like to look closely at scripture through analogies, try Sin is Like a Plague on Our House. Please sign up to receive my blog in your email inbox. You can find that at the upper right of your screen (or at the bottom on a phone). Also, check out my YouTube Channel where I read the blogs out loud and have a playlist of hymns.