ODJ: Angry like Jesus

February 19, 2018 

READ: Ephesians 4:17–5:2 

Don’t sin by letting anger control you (4:26).

What makes you angry? A traffic jam, stubbed toe, disrespectful slight, someone who didn’t keep an appointment with you or a surprise assignment that will take all night? Anger is emotional frustration. It often arises when our path is blocked, when someone or something is standing in our way.

Anger is a God-given emotion that all human beings experience. I can be quick to experience it when my rights are wronged: when a car cuts me off in traffic or when someone cuts me off in conversation.

But I want to become more like Jesus, who became angry for the sake of others. He was outraged at the religious leaders who allowed people to be exploited financially in His Father’s house and thought He shouldn’t heal the man with a deformed hand (Matthew 21:12-13; Mark 3:5). Jesus became angry because He loved people.

While it isn’t wrong to be angry, what we do with it is vital. God commands: “Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil” (Ephesians 4:26-27). This doesn’t mean that if we get into a fight in the morning we’re allowed to stay angry all day. God’s point is that anger, like any emotion, shouldn’t control us (v.26).

Anger that’s allowed to run free will lead to unhealthy beliefs and behaviour. We can convince ourselves we’re fighting for what’s right, when we’re merely fighting for our rights. Instead, God wants us to pursue reconciliation with those who wrong us, and if that’s unsuccessful, to entrust our anger to Him. Our Father “has identified [us] as his own, guaranteeing that [we] will be saved on the day of redemption” (v.30). Because of our relationship with Him, we can leave our anger in His wise and loving hands.

—Mike Wittmer

365-day plan: Numbers 13:1–14:4

Read Proverbs 14:16-17, 22:24-25 and 29:11,22. How does God want us to handle anger? 
What has made you angry recently? How can you honour God in your anger?