If you grew up with a brother or sister you know they can get on your nerves. In fact, once they find out that something bothers you, they will keep doing it until you practically blow a gasket. I have an older brother. We get along well now, but I feel bad for what we put our parents through as kids, especially our mom. We fought more often than not, and once he got bigger than me, I was toast. I vividly recall one time when my brother was trying to get in my room. I don’t think it was for any particular reason except that he knew I didn’t want him in there. On this particular occasion I wasn’t fast enough slamming and locking my door. My brother got his foot in there and kept pushing. Once he got his foot in, I knew things weren’t going to go well for me. The further he was able to get the door open the angrier I became. I wasn’t strong enough to stop him and I didn’t know what to do. So I bit him. That’s right; I clamped my teeth down on his shoulder like a bulldog on a bull. Unbeknownst to either of us, my braces had become attached to his shirt. When he yanked his shoulder out of my mouth my braces went with it. I still remember the sound of the “pop,” “pop,” “pop, pop, pop” as they came off of my teeth one by one. I remember that moment in slow motion, though I’m sure it happened quite quickly.
In my anger toward my brother I sinned. I did something I knew was wrong in order to hurt someone I love. Did you know that not all anger is sin? It’s true. Jesus got very angry with the people buying and selling animals for sacrifice inside the Temple in Jerusalem. “He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, and He stopped everyone from using the Temple as a marketplace (Mark 11:15b-16, NLT).” In all of this, Jesus did not sin.
Sometimes when I am angry, I will read through the Psalms. David’s Psalms are full of every kind of emotion, including anger. When we are angry, we need to go to God with our anger. He already knows what we are feeling, and it is His desire that we come to Him, talk to Him, and let Him heal our hearts. What we can’t do with our anger is let it fester. We need to deal with it, and we do that by taking it to God.
“Be angry and do not sin.” If we allow our anger to turn to sin, if we let it control us, or if we use it to seek revenge or harm someone (or ourselves), that is sin. When we sin in our anger, we give the devil an opportunity. The word opportunity is also translated as foothold. In the story I told you, my brother got his foot in the door and that was all it took. Once we give the devil a foothold he will keep pushing and interfere in other areas of our lives as well. (Important clarification: I am NOT comparing my big brother to the devil!)
If you have sinned in your anger and given the devil a foothold, all is not lost. Take it to God; that really is the answer to all of our problems. Tell God all about your anger and sin, and ask Him to forgive you for sinning and to help you reclaim any ground that the devil has crept into. Be honest about your emotions. Take them to God. Do not let the sun go down on your anger.
Psalm 13 - A Psalm of David
"How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, 'I have prevailed over him,' lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken. But I have trusted in Your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me.' "
© February 12, 2013