Have you ever found yourself losing control over your temper and completely blowing your Christian witness in the face of friends and family? If you’re like me in any way, when those embarrassing moments take place the shame and regret of making a complete fool of yourself are sometimes overwhelming. In those moments, the inner battle between making it right with the person I wronged or justifying my sinful actions are never easy to work through.
In my pride, the last action that comes to mind is apologizing for my unwarranted behavior. In a blind fury of rage when I’m not thinking as clearly as I should, my greatest desire is to get even with the person who crossed me and in turn, give them a piece of my mind. In the process, I have often gone further than any Christian should, and although I have gotten better at restraining my anger throughout the years, my personal reformation doesn’t erase the relationships I have damaged by the misuse of my anger.
The Bible is clear on this topic of anger. When our motives don’t line up with God, anger is always sinful. The difficulty of getting our motives to line up with God’s motives is that we are often more concerned about our own needs and interest than we are about His. For example, let someone misuse God’s name in vain around us, and we are often silently grieved; but let someone misuse our name around us and we are greatly offended and ready to fight.
The only way we can obey the command found in Ephesians 4:26, which calls us to “Be ye angry, and sin not…” Is to put on the mind of Christ and in turn think His thoughts. We need to be so Spirit filled (filled with the Word of God) that when we are tempted to “blow up” on someone or “give someone a piece of our minds”, we respond in a Christlike manner, with a godly zeal rather than a fleshly fury.
As followers of Christ, we need to be constantly reminded that we are called to a holiness that is presently a reality in our beings. We who have been made anew by the power of the Spirit are not trying to be someone that doesn’t already exist; in our pursuit of holiness, we are actually walking in who Christ has already made us into. This is why we are admonished in Paul’s writings to “Put on the Mind of Christ.” And “Walk in the Spirit.”
When it comes to managing our anger in times of testing we are called by God to walk in our new nature and not retreat back to the old nature. In the words of Galatians 5:22-25, I must remember that my sinful outbursts of anger are the belongings of the old man, which has been crucified with Christ as well as my sinful affections and lust for my name, in exchange for Christ’s name to be vindicated.
Armed with these truths, let us strive to grow in Christ and see what pleases God through His word and in turn grow in our hatred and love for the things that God hates and loves.