ANGER and PEACEMAKING
Anger is the only sin that could be called an emotion. While it is one of the seven deadly sins, not all anger is sinful. There are two types of anger. One leads to sin, but the other is considered to be righteous anger.
Signs of Anger Turning into Sin
How do we know when anger turns into sin? Anger is sinful when you cross the line. It turns into sin when:
- The expression of anger is too strong for a given situation. (You fly off the handle in a rage.)
- The expression of anger is wrongly directed. (If you have a rough day at work and come home and take it out on someone else.)
- The expression of anger lingers or festers. (Bitterness)
However, anger is not always sinful. (see Psalm 4:4, Ephesians 4:26-27) If Jesus is God (and He is) and God cannot sin (and He can’t), then anger is not necessarily sin because Jesus became angry. He was angry at the death of his friend Lazarus. (John 11:33-38)
The real danger is not in anger itself, but in what it can lead to. Anger is deadly because it leads to a worse sin — hatred. (Proverbs 8:13)
There are 4 levels of anger:
- The emotion itself. (This is not sin. It wells up. What we do with it determines sinfulness.)
- The emotion rightly regulated by reason. (This is not sin.)
- The emotion running rampant over reason. (This becomes sin.)
- The emotion turns into bitterness and ultimately hatred. (This becomes sin.)
Satan loves to turn friends into enemies and lovers into strangers. Anger will divide and destroy friends and families.
Overcoming Anger Through Meekness and Peacemaking
Marcus Aurelius wrote, “When you start to lose your temper, remember: There’s nothing manly about rage. It’s courtesy and kindness that defines a human being — and a man. That’s who possesses strength and nerves and guts, not the angry whiners.”
Matthew 5:5,9 tells us that it is the meek and the peacemakers who will be blessed, for they will inherit the earth and be called children of God.
Meekness is not weakness, it’s power under control. Peter Kreeft said, “The essence of meekness is… not to cause harm.” Jesus exemplified meekness in Colossians 1:15-16 (power), Philippians 2:6-8 (made Himself nothing) and Matthew 11:28-29 (Jesus’ character description/biography).
Making an effort to be a peacemaker will also help you to overcome anger. Peace is when something is at rest. Thomas Merton noted “We are not at peace with others because we are not at peace with ourselves, and we are not at peace with ourselves because we are not at peace with God.”
Peacemaking is not the same as peacekeeping. The key difference is forgiveness and reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-20):
- Peacekeeping seeks peace through force of arms.
2. Peacemaking seeks peace through forgiveness and reconciliation.
Three key points to remember about peace:
1.Mankind apart from God has never and will never make permanent peace. This is the way of unbelief. Peace always starts with God. Our world will never know peace until they know God.
2.Mankind against God will never make permanent peace. This is the way of disobedience.
3.Mankind and God can and will make permanent peace. This is the way of faith.
Webster’s Dictionary defines the word reconcile: “to restore friendship or harmony.”
Is there someone in your life with whom you need to reconcile? Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry. Be a peacemaker offering forgiveness and reconciliation.