Anger towards others can take many forms. It might be a smouldering resentment. It might be a passionate rage. It might be deep-seated hostility. It might express itself in unplanned shouting or carefully planned verbal stabs. Either way, whatever form of anger you have against another, it is no secret that you have replaced the good intentions that might initially have had toward that person with more sinister intentions. All of this paragraph above is merely a word-by-word explanation of Ephesians 4:31.
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.Ephesians 4:31 (ESV)
As a Christians, how should we react when “I am just so angry at [offender’s name]”? If we are so wisely counselled by God away from everything in the above paragraph, what are we to do when we still feel angry at someone, but don’t want to enter the downward slope of chaos that always accompanies our anger? “Just keep reading” is always a good start, for the very next verse jolts us out of our make reasons for being angry, and places us back on the track to become more like Jesus.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.Ephesians 4:32 (ESV)
Because “I am just so angry at ______”, I need to find something “kind” to do to them. Kindness intends goodwill towards others. Kindness is like water on a lit fuse, and like water on a fuse it makes it all the more difficult to light it again. Showing kindness to an offender will make you slower to anger (Pro 15:18).
Because “I am just so angry at ______”, I also need to be more “tenderhearted“. Kindness of deed is mere hypocrisy if there is no softness of heart. A controlled softer voice always bears more weight than an uncontrolled louder voice does. Every wise peace-maker has proven it true over and over again (Pro 15:1).
Because “I am just so angry at ______”, I urgently need to review what Jesus all did as an act of forgiveness to me. If I do not see the sin done against me in light of my sin against Jesus, I will spiral out of control and incur even more sin against Jesus. But if I can honestly recognise that any sin against me is of much lesser consequence to my sin against Jesus—and Jesus forgave me that sin—then I will be able, not only to show kindness with a genuine tender heart, but I will also be able to erode the mountain of guilt that I want that person to feel. Then only can I sense my privilege to forgive more than I sense my supposed ‘right’ to vindication.
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.Romans 12:21 (ESV)