Monday, February 1, 2016

Being Angry Without Sin

It was quiet last evening at my house. The rustle of leaves from visiting deer was sadly absent. Life has changed. I miss my nightly visitation already.

Yesterday, I wrote about the death of "my" deer and my decision not to seek or confront the ones responsible. (This will make better sense if you've read that post first, so click on the link if you missed it.) I was hurt and grieved and, to a degree, angry. 

A friend of mine asked a very sensible question. "Isn't anger justified in this situation?" 

My answer is "Maybe." I don't know all the circumstances. I don't know what happened to cause such a poor shot, such a disabling shot. I don't know who shot my deer, nor the motive behind the shooting. 

Perhaps a child was hunting with his father for the first time. Maybe the child, excited and a little scared, fired his gun, but with poor aim. Or his aim was good but his hands were shaking. Or the shotgun was heavy and he couldn't keep it aimed at the target. 

Any number of scenarios are possible, and I have no way of knowing which was true.

Being angry over a misdeed is not wrong. Sinning because of that anger is wrong. 

If I had gone with my neighbor up the side road, anger beginning to boil, I might have found hunters in the area. If I had found the hunter who shot "Buck", that anger could have easily boiled over into hasty, harsh words that, once said, could not be recalled. 

If my goal is to honor Christ in all I do, I cannot give vent to passions in a way that dishonors Him.

Angry words might have made me "feel better" for a few minutes, but those angry words would have lodged in the neurons of the listener's brain and stayed there forever. When the object of my anger recalled my name, the words I'd spoken would be his first thought, not the Jesus in me.  

As an Ambassador for Christ, I must represent Christ well at all times. Even when I'm angry. Especially when I'm angry.

The question, then, becomes one of priority. What is most important to me? Proving my point, or proving the power of God in me? 

I choose to demonstrate the power of God in me, but it's not always easy. Words flitting through my brain (even unkind ones) are not sin. Letting harsh, unkind words flow like lava over unsuspecting listeners would be, even if I justified myself by saying I was "teaching" him to do better next time.

We are called to take every thought captive, including the thoughts that come with anger. If my thoughts are "captive", they are no longer free to fly out my mouth. 

Captured thoughts can best be dealt with in one way. Stop rehearsing them and give them to Jesus. 

Difficult situations will come our way, as will anger and frustration. Hurtful words may come to mind, but we don't have to speak them. Let's be sure we tame our tongue and capture our thoughts. 

We can show the world the Prince of Peace by our response to difficult times. If we will.

Be anger and sin not. Ephesians 4:26

"So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. James 2:12 nasb

See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity... But no one came tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God, from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be... James 3:5,68-10 nasb

In case you missed one of this week's posts, here are the links:   Truth That Matters: God Sees The Importance of LightA Little Good News: Working Together,  Things I've Learned: There is a God and I'm Not ItCutting Down a Tree and Praying for Miracles, and The Tree That Preached a Sermon, and The Wounded Deer and the Unsaid Words
#anger #beangrybutsinnot #JesusChrist #Christian #disciple #tamethetongue