To Temper Our Temper

“‘Be angry, and do not sin’: do not let the sun go down on your wrath …”

— Ephesians 4:26

How is your temper? Do you keep your anger in check, or have you let anger sink its roots into your life? Unfortunately, an untold number of people go through their entire lives angry. Virtually any psychiatrist or psychologist would say that as many as ninety percent of their patients have problems somehow related to anger. Sadly, our anger seeps its way into our happiness, homes, and friendships, eroding the foundations of these blessings. Clearly, God desires better for us.

So how do we temper our temper? The Bible has a few pointers for us. First of all, we need to realize that any unjustified anger is a serious sin. Jesus said, “But I say to you, that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.” Knowing that unjustified anger is a sin, we need to repent of it, and by God’s grace, do all we can to rid ourselves of it. Second, we need to forgive those who have slighted us. Remember that when the Jews and Romans wounded Jesus, He did not wound in return. Rather He said, “Father, forgive them.” We need to forgive from our hearts those who have injured us. Third, we need to redirect our anger. If possible, we need to turn our anger away from those who hurt us and use it constructively to resolve the problem at hand. We need also to live by the important Biblical advice given to us: “A soft answer turneth away wrath.”

No emotion in and of itself is evil, including anger. It becomes evil when we allow it outside the limits and structure that God has established. When our anger gets to that point, we need to confess it and repent of it. If you feel angry today, don’t let the sun go down on your wrath. Bring it to God, and allow Him to begin a healing work in your heart. Do what you can to reconcile with the person you feel angry with. Determine, by the power of the Spirit, to forgive and to work constructively toward a solution.

“It is he who is in the wrong who first gets angry.”
William Penn