Several years ago we met our family in Minneapolis to celebrate Christmas. We were lucky enough to stay at a hotel connected to Mall of America, allowing us to go in and out of the mall as we pleases. A certain coffee chain has a location about every 100 feet in the mall, a significant temptation for a coffee addict like me. Before going to dinner one night I impulsively ordered a white chocolate mocha with soy milk, Now, I am very allergic to dairy products, and although they won’t kill me, they do horrendous things to my bowels that I’ll politely not share the gory details of. A few minutes after sitting down at the restaurant I knew they had used dairy instead of soy as my stomach began churning. I hastily tried to make my way back to the hotel room, and was thrilled when I got in an empty elevator to head to our eighth floor room. Like something out of a sitcom, eight people got into the elevator as it was about to close, and I swear each stopped on a different floor. By the time we reached my floor I’d hate to know what color I had turned. I raced to my room and was able to throw up in the relative safety of our bathroom. It took about a day to fully recover from that poisonous latte.
There are certain things that seldom go well with the human body, and anger is one of them. When anger sneaks into our lives it can quickly poison our thoughts and actions, often with disastrous results. In fact, the Bible tells us that Satan often uses anger to tempt us into sinful behavior.
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:26-29
I’ll be rather blunt. I see a lot of anger in our world right now, and it far too often is leading even the best of us into sin. Out of our anger we mistreat our spouses, our friends, and those around us. Even worse, our anger leads us away from being the person God desires us to be. If anger is tempting you towards Team Satan, here are three important steps this passage reminds us to do:
1. Identify your anger and rapidly address it before it leads you into sin.
2. Replace anger with kindness: when you want to react out of anger, redirect your thoughts and respond in a kind and loving manner.
3. The ultimate solution to anger and bitterness is repentance and forgiveness.
Don’t let Satan take advantage of your anger for his destructive purposes. Instead, strive everyday to control it in order to be the awesome man of God you were created to be.