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In your anger do not sin

Is it just me or have you ever done something while you were really angry that you later regretted? And, of course, we know that it is not just anger that can cause us to react in sinful ways. Anger is just the representative for a number of strong emotions that can cause us to slip when they are flooding over us. Anger, jealousy, fear, even extreme joy and happiness can be our downfall. In Psalm 4: 4, king David wrote Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. One thousand years later Paul wrote essentially the same thing in Ephesians 4: 26 – 27 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Notice that these two men of God are not telling you that in the heat of the moment you must never get angry. They are advising us, rather, that in our anger we must control our actions so that we do not sin. It is valid biblically to expand on this directive by saying “when strong emotions overtake you, it may be nearly impossible to stop the emotion from manifesting itself but you always have an option on how you respond to that strong emotion”. We lie to ourselves if we say we can totally control our emotions. And we tell ourselves a bigger lie if we say that we cannot control how we act and behave when we are under the influence of a strong emotion. David teaches us to ponder in our own hearts once we are away from the immediate situation. Paul encourages us not to give the devil an opportunity to create a bad habit or addiction in our lives by choosing to respond to and manage our powerful emotions in the same sinful way over and over. If emotions are driving you to undertake sinful behaviors, you must first acknowledge that you can control those actions (even if you can’t control the underlying emotion) if you so desire and then you must work to do just that. Parents, this is also a great lesson for your children. Trying to keep kids from ever getting angry, scared or anxious is impossible. But teaching them that it is not acceptable for them to respond to, manage or overcome their emotions in sinful ways is one of the main roles you should assume in raising your children. Check out the video post on this same topic on my Facebook page. Andy’s book, Clear Vision: How The Bible Teaches Us To View The World, can be purchased here.

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