In Your Anger Do Not Sin[i]
If there is just occasion to express displeasure at what is wrong, and to reprove, see that it be without sin.[ii]
here are two common ways of falling to sin when we are angry with loved ones. The first is to initially repress the anger only to have it find expression in numerous small ways over time. In this instance the person against whom subtle anger-daggers are aimed becomes scarcely able to bear the presence of one who may be sweet on the surface but is spiteful beneath. A second type of anger-sin is to burst forth in outraged passion against one who has done wrong, enumerating in excruciating detail the exact nature of the sins that person has committed.
People who are given to fits of rage are dangerous. They are capable of causing terrible emotional damage in a few seconds of passion. But the cumulative ill effect of sniping remarks and eye-rolling disgust toward someone who ought to have been loved and forgiven may be just as toxic.
We who are prone to outbursts of angry words know it is a terrible sensation to be out of control of our emotions, and when we sin in this way we often find ourselves praying in broken humility that the Lord might heal the wounds we have inflicted. Most times it isn't that we are wholly inaccurate in our angry assessments, but that the Holy Spirit is the only One who can correct and reprove without causing damage. God is gracious to protect the hearts of our loved ones and will sometimes even direct our angry words, so that through the Holy Spirit’s power God’s will is accomplished, perhaps in spite of us rather than because of us. But just as often we cause damage that takes God years of time to repair, and all because we cannot control our outraged anger in response to having been wronged.
Those of us who are able to stay silent in the face of mistreatment risk slipping into the second category of sin, and we cause damage to our own hearts when we make sniping, unkind comments against people we love, or even worse, ignore their struggles and become immune to their suffering.
It is so much better to take every matter to God first, in prayer. He listens patiently to our outpouring of hurt over having been betrayed, injured, ignored, used, or victimized by the self-focus of those who ought to have loved and supported us. As anger cools He may show us the other's perspective, and He will then show us how to proceed.
It is important to remember that no one can deliver out of God's hand.[iii] When we feel our loved ones are robbing us of the time and space we need to follow God’s plan for us to become fit and thin, we are off base. It does sometimes seem as though other human beings can disrupt the timing of the fulfillment of God’s promises, but no one can rob us of blessings the Lord has ordained.
Pray: Dear Lord, please keep me from sinning when I'm angry. “Set a guard over my mouth and keep watch over the door to my lips” (Psalm 141:3). Protect the tender hearts of those I love, heal the wounds I've inflicted, and keep me from causing my dear ones harm. Keep me from hindering Your work; help me to facilitate Your purposes. Guide me to express myself for Your glory and for the good of those I love, and yes, Lord, for my good too. I pray for the strength to carry out the work You’ve chosen for me. I entrust my health and my future into Your hands. In Jesus' Name I pray.
I am he; there is none who can deliver from my hand;
I work, and who can turn it back?