“Of the Seven Deadly Sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back—in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you.” Frederick Buechner

Likely we all have harbored feelings of anger against someone else because of wrongs we perceive they have done, but when their anger is turned toward us our perception of it is totally different. We may fear or we may think about how foolish they appear. Why is anger such a delicious feeling in ourselves and yet so odious coming from others? Solomon, the wisest man on earth said, “Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools” (Eccl. 7:9).

Solomon also told us how to defer someone’s anger and turn away the wrath that is causing carnage in our lives. “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger” (Prov. 15:1). We know that tempers only escalate when we answer an angry man the same way he has spoken to us. But what if we are right and he is wrong? Does it really matter that we have our way or prove our point if we lose a friend or drive a permanent wedge in family relationships? Can we not rather take wrong in order to make peace and thus please God (1 Cor. 6:7)?

“The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression” (Prov. 19:11).

“He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city (Prov. 16:32).

In defense of their anger, many will quote Ephesians 4:26-27 and they will say, “See anger is not a sin, as long as I do not let the sun go down on it.” But these people fail to notice that five verses later, we are told to get rid of anger just like we are told to get rid of other evil qualities in our lives. “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice” (Eph. 4:31). Would anyone deny that these are all evil qualities?

Later, in his letter to the church at Colossi, Paul wrote, “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him (Col. 3:8-10).

Let’s all work to rid ourselves of this very deceitful, sinful emotion which men have taught us to use to get our way.


“Put off Anger”

When it comes to anger, we sometimes let our “what-can-we-get-away-with” attitude show through.   The most popular scripture dealing with anger is, “Be ye angry, and sin not” (Eph. 4:26).  Even though it is absolutely true that anger is not necessarily sin in itself, it is not something that can be used with impunity.

Consider these:
1. Anger can put our souls in danger. “But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment” (Matt. 5:22).  Everyone thinks he has a cause.  Be careful.

2. It never works the righteousness of God. “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:   For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20).

3. A wise man is slow to anger (Prov. 16:32). Are you wise? There are many other scriptures which teach about being slow to anger: Neh. 9:17; Psa. 103:8; Psa. 145:8; Prov. 15:18; Joel 2:13; Jonah 4:2; Nah. 1:3.

4. It is a glory to pass over a transgression (Prov. 19:11). Is that how you feel about overlooking things done against you?  Remember the many good discussions and studies about forgiving others.

5. He that rules his own spirit is better than a man who takes a city (Prov. 16:32: Prov. 25:28). How strong are you?  If you cannot control your own spirit, do you need to seek help?

6. Just because anger itself is not a sin does not mean it is OK to use it to control people and situations.  God says to put off anger. ” Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice” (Eph. 4:31). “But now ye also put off all these: anger”¦” (Col. 3:8).