Polls show that Americans are deeply affected by anger. Fifty-six percent are so angry that it disturbs their sleep. I recently talked to a pastor who was so angry at his denomination that he was thinking about leaving the ministry. When I made him promise that he would have lunch with me and talk about it before he wrote his letter of resignation, he said with a sly grin, “OK, I will call you for lunch before I do two things — write a letter of resignation or curse someone out.”
“Be angry” Paul says, “but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.” (Eph 4:26 RSV)” Anger is not something new to our society but its pervasiveness is deeply troubling our society and our churches. Our ability to deal with our anger “before the sun goes down,” does not seem to be our current society’s mode of operation. Rather we seem to hold on to our anger, nurture it, and allow it to explode in most unproductive ways.
We will deal with this more in the next few days but for now, I would ask you to take a piece of paper and note quickly and without censorship ten things, causes, or realities that are generating anger within you. The very naming of them will have some value. Now, consider, if you were going to respond to these situations in some manner that allowed you to not let anger harm you, how might you respond before the sun goes down?
Further, consider where the Spirit of God is in your choice of response. Anger in itself is not wrong but divorcing it from our spiritual journey is robbing us of a significant opportunity for growth.