Thursday, March 14, 2013

Be Angry and Do Not Sin

Be angry and do not sin; (Ephesians 4:26 ESV)

I give this piece of scripture a bit of thought from time to time. Hum, "Be angry and do not sin." I feel, in part, this goes hand and hand with, "Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all." (Romans 12:17 ESV) And, "Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself." (Proverbs 26:4 ESV)

So, I can be as ticked as I want but that does not give me permission to misbehave. Someone sinning against me does not make it okay for me to act in kind. I am called to remain firm in all that I do according to God's word.

Just as I am writing this, the following Mother Teresa quote was read on the radio:

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.  Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.  Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.  Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.  Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten.  Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.  Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.

(Based on The Paradoxical Commandments.)

This seems so simple but in reality it is (for me) a challenge at times. Just because an individual may harass me and be rude, embarrass me, yell at me, deceive me, betray me, lie to me, cheat me, steal from me, gossip about me and spread rumors, be hateful toward me, I may be wise and separate myself from that person and the situation but I may not sin toward him/her in return!

Regarding the topic, Pastor John Piper states the following,
Not only does the Scripture say, "Be angry and do not sin," it also says, "Be slow to anger, for the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God." And the Bible says, "Put away anger and malice." And it says that Jesus—at one point when he was in the synagogue and they were bent out of shape because he was healing someone on the Sabbath—it says he looked around upon them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart....

We shouldn't be angry at clutches that don't work in our car. Jonathan Edwards made a resolution never to get angry at an inanimate object, because ultimately it would be anger against God who is in control in inanimate objects, and they don't have any will to commit an immorality with which to get angry.So we should get angry with sin, but that anger should be so mingled with heart-sorrows for the people sinning....

What I'm looking for when I get angry at somebody on the street or whoever is whether or not I am also broken. Am I hurting and longing for them? Do I want them saved? Do I want them changed? Can I be merciful toward them?
(By John Piper. ©2012 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org)
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