17 July 2015
Setting Standards for Feelings – Anger has Rules
Greetings Dear Reader,
First I should be very clear that it is not wrong to be angry. We will feel angry. If we deny our anger or bottle it up it is dangerous. Paul’s reference to anger in Ephesians is in the imperative. “Be angry and do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger.”
“Be angry” is not a choice it is a command. There are things about which we must be angry. “…and do not sin” is also the imperative. We must not use anger as reason to sin. The third imperative is that we must not let the anger live through the day. This means we are to deal with our own feelings about a situation so that it does not impact us internally.
We seem to be very good at the first imperative. We are very good at being angry. I know people seem to be only angry all the time. Anger becomes a very easy emotion to access. It is an easy habit to form.
Where we fail is to then assess the anger we have accessed. Unfolding before us once we feel anger is a set of binary choices. There is little gray area in these choices even though we try to make it so. As I work through anger I ask the first and hardest of all questions.
Is my anger justified? My anger is not always justified. Sometimes it is rooted in selfishness or greed. This question must come first. Figuring out why I am angry often leads to the choice of blame or forgiveness. We are not allowed to cling to anger. We are required to reason out a course of action if the anger is justified.
I must be loving, kind, and forgiving. I must express how I feel in a way that does not harm or disrespect. I must always be the master of this most dangerous of feelings. I must be honest about the feeling, the source, the justification, and the resolution. I must do all this be day’s end so that I do not carry it over into the next.
Again dealing with this feeling has the overshadowing requirement to love my neighbor or enemy. It requires me to love God through control and honesty. Anger has rules. If I am to follow Christ properly I must obey them.
Wishing you joy in the journey,
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
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