My first leadership meeting in ministry was um, an interesting experience. The church had built a new addition several years before, and some believed food and beverage would never be allowed in it. Well, the previous Sunday someone had not only entered the addition with coffee, but spilled some on the new (three years old) carpet. For one of the elders that was just too much. He became so incensed with anger that he angrily pounded on the table. He pounded so hard that he both left a fist imprint on the table and bent his wedding ring so bad that he later had to have it removed from his hand. That moment served as both my welcome to church meetings and an eye opener to the power of anger.
I later learned that this man’s anger had little to do with a coffee spill. Years earlier he had left a good job to take over the family farm. After years of hard work he had recently lost the farm that had been in his family for generation. The frustration this caused him turned a once positive man into one prone to anger. In short, he had let his anger, which he had every right to feel, take control of him.
I want to be very blunt today men. I feel we have a major anger problem, and it seems to be growing every day. I see it on social media posts, on the news, in conversations, in talking with pastors, and when I visit churches stateside. So many of us carry large amount of anger around. Some of it has built up over years, some over months, and some only minutes ago. I get it. The past five months of this pandemic have been light years from how I wanted my life to be. I can’t stand being in my house all day, dislike wearing a mask (I wouldn’t even wear one for Halloween as a kid), and deeply miss the parts of my ministry I have been unable to do. There have been admittedly moments where my frustrations have given into anger, and that anger has been taken out on my family. Not by any means my proudest moments.
Checkout the following two verses: Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Ephesians 4:26-27
Notice this: Paul doesn’t say we should never be angry. He understands that we will have moments of anger in our lives. The point he wants us to get is that we can’t let our anger lead us to sin. We cannot let anger lead us to work Satan would be proud of. Be honest with yourself today. How are you handling your anger? Do you let it control you and lead you to sin, or do you give your anger over to God? My prayer for all of us is that we stop letting our anger guide our lives, and instead turn to God for peace and direction during our anger. I get that you have a mountain of things to be angry about. But, let’s not let anger lead us astray, but instead trust in the one who has created and saved us.