Be Angry.. sin not
On the topic of anger, I think we should first establish there are two different types. One is good. One is bad. Righteous anger, or as the King James version of the Bible puts it, ‘righteous indignation’, is something that all believers should have. When it comes to the evil that we see in the world today, we should get angry about that. Whatever God gets angry about, we should get angry about the same thing.
However, the other kind of anger is not of God. That kind of anger is a sin. The kind of anger I’m talking about is when someone cuts you off in traffic and you’re tempted to yell or make an obscene gesture; the kind of anger that makes you rude, disrespectful, or harsh to others; the kind of anger that won’t allow you to forgive offenses committed against you; the kind of anger you’ve held onto for years just because it feels like an old familiar friend and you don’t want to let it go, whatever it is. Also, the kind of anger that makes you bitter toward others because they sin differently than you.
The Bible says to be angry and sin not (Ephesians 4:26). What does that mean? I believe it means to be angry at the unrighteousness and injustices we see in the world today. For example, if you are a Christian, it should anger you that innocent children are being abused and killed. It should anger you that people are being gunned down simply because of the color of their skin or because they’re not deemed worthy to live by their murderer. It should anger you that Christians are being persecuted around the world because they’re sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and fulfilling the great commission (Matthew 28:19-20).
You may say that you have the anger part down. How do you work on the ‘and sin not’ part?
We must be careful to not let the Devil get a foothold into our hearts and plant seeds of sin that breed misdirected anger. Ephesians 4:29, 31 says, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.”
To be angry that people hurt other people doesn’t mean that we are to hate them or be unforgiving. Jesus loves them and so should we. Those people who shoot down other human beings because they don’t look like them — they need prayer too. They need to know that if they repent, God is there to forgive them. We’re supposed to pray for people who are outside of God’s will because we can be that person at any moment. Instead of taking matters into our own hands, we must entrust every situation to God because vengeance is His and He will repay. God is pure and just and He will right every wrong that has been done. Nothing escapes the watchful and, loving, but just, eyes of The Most High God.
Before coming to Christ, we once were those people. We may not have committed those particular sins, but we were sinners nonetheless and we all have to come to Christ the same way … on our knees in repentance. That’s where mercy and grace come in. I believe to be angry and sin not means to be angry at the sin, but to love the sinner just as Jesus so graciously does with us. God meets each of us where we are. We only need to reach out to Him and ask.
My prayer for you is that you seek God for yourself and ask Him to reveal any hidden parts of your heart where you may be harboring anger and to replace it with righteous anger and love for others.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts. And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)
Jessica LeBlanc is an award-winning, Emmy-nominated journalist who was named on of the top student television news reporters in the country by College Broadcasters in 2011. While in college, she traveled to Europe and wrote political and human interest stories for UPIU.com (at an extension of United Press International). Upon graduation fro Southeastern Louisiana University, she began working at WBRZ News 2 in Baton Rouge as a multimedia journalist and later as an anchor. Originally from New Orleans, she spends her free time working on her blog Moments with Jesse, reading, taking various speaking engagements, and spending time with her family.