For Spiritual Growth
"Be Ye Angry,
and Sin Not"
A Bad Temper
Another in a series of tracts
for the edification of
To the born-again believer who has been saved by repentance toward God and
faith in Jesus Christ, a great promise is given:
"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them
that believe on his name:" John 1:12.
With this promise the Christian has the potential to be conformed to the
image of Christ (Romans 8:29), but sometimes his old sin nature gets the
best of him and hinders his spiritual growth. At times like this it is
good to have some golden nuggets from God's Word and someone willing to
point them out - as illustrated in the following dialogue.
Can I be of help?
Maybe you can. I have a problem that I am trying to get rid of.
What problem is that?
Well, I am really embarrassed to say it.
Don't be. After all that's why you're seeking Biblical advice isn't it?
Yes, I guess you're right. My problem is anger. I tend to lose my temper a lot and I want to get the
victory over it.
Okay. Let's start by seeing what the Bible says about getting angry."Be ye angry and sin not." Ephesians 4:26
I've seen that verse before but never understood how to apply it. I mean, isn't anger a sin?
No, anger is a God given emotion. It is not a sin to be angry. It's what you do with the anger that can
I don't understand.
Remember, man in his fallen sinful state perverts every God given emotion in ways that God never
intended. This includes anger.
You mean we tend to use anger in a wrong way?
Exactly! Sinful man tends either to ventilate or internalize. Internalizing means to hold it in, clam up.
This can lead to bitterness and even depression.
That's not what I tend to do.
Then you probably ventilate which means to "blow up" and "lose it".
Yep, that's what I do. I have plenty of broken doors around the house to prove it.
Well, whether you ventilate or internalize it is an incorrect way to use anger. God sees it as sin."For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God."
But what's the correct way to use anger?
By using anger's emotional energy in a constructive way. For example, how do you react when you can't
I get frustrated and angry?
Do you "lose it"?
Yes. I begin to desperately look for it. I'll throw things around and yell, "Where is it?"
What happens when you finally find it?
I calm down and feel guilty about "losing it".
Tell me, how many times does that happen.
You mean you keep misplacing things?
Yes, I guess I'm not very organized.
Why don't you get things in order so you would know where they are?
I should, but I can't motivate myself to do it.
Then use anger's emotional energy to motivate yourself. That's how anger can be used constructively!
You mean that's the Biblical use for anger - to motivate?
Yes! Anger should motivate us to solve problems instead of internalizing or ventilating. It's just a matter
of redirecting anger's emotional energy toward a solution to the problem that caused it. Anger should
result in us saying "Enough is enough, I'm going to fix this problem". Use your anger to attack the
problem with a solution and not to attack a door with your fist. Let's look at some Biblical examples.
In Exodus 32:19-20, the children of Israel create a problem by practicing idolatry. Moses gets
angry and uses his emotional energy to destroy the idol. Problem solved.
In John 2:13-17, Jesus finds thieves defiling the temple of God. This problem causes Jesus to
anger which motivates Him to cast them out. Problem solved.
In Mark 3:5, Jesus is angered by the hardness of hearts around Him. Instead of throwing a
temper tantrum in frustration, He performs a miracle and addresses the problem.
All through the Old Testament we see God become angry at the problem of sin (e.g., Numbers 25:3;
Numbers 11:10; Judges 2:19-23; I Kings 14:9; Isaiah 5:8-25). His reaction is always to deal with the
problem and solve it. We never see God use anger incorrectly by throwing a temper tantrum, yelling out
obscenities or punching out a door.
I'm beginning to understand, but how does a person develop the habit of redirecting his anger toward
solving the problem that caused it?
Through the putting off and putting on process. (The reader should look up "How to Break Old Sinful
Habits", part of the Golden Nuggets Series.)
Hey! I remember that. It involves substituting sinful habits with Godly habits, right?
Right. First you must put off (break) the old sinful habit of ventilating your anger.
I don't know if I could do that. When I "blow up" I lose all self-control.
Wrong! You can find self control. If you were in the middle of "blowing up" and the phone rang would
you stop ventilating?
Yes, I guess I would.
Then you can stop it when you think it's important enough. It's amazing how we are capable of self-
control in front of an employer, policeman, pastor or friend. Yet, we don't think twice about ventilating
in front of a thrice holy God!
I guess I hadn't been considering my wife very important either since I've been "blowing up" in front of
Then all that has to change and true Biblical change involves both a putting off and a putting on. Put off
ventilating and put on in its place the new habit of being solution oriented.
What does that mean?
A solution oriented person examines the problem and directs his anger toward attacking the problem
and not an object or person.
That doesn't sound like me. I guess I'm not solution oriented.
You are most likely problem oriented which means you tend to be melodramatic, blame shift and
feel self-pity whenever a problem arises.
You're right. I've always been that way.
Then be transformed into a person who attacks a problem and solves it instead of setting aside its
solution through laziness, procrastination, fear or selfishness with time.
Good night! How did you know I procrastinate and act selfishly with my time?
Let's just say it all fits the pattern. Now let me give you some specific examples of putting off
and putting on.
When things don't work out as you planned:
Put off - the old sinful habit of "blowing up" and practice self control.
The problem is you have not resolved to accept God's sovereign will over your life. Remember
God is in control.
Put on - the new habit of submitting to God's will and trusting Him for the outcome and
timing of everyday events (Romans 8:28-29).
Use anger's emotional energy to counteract the flesh's self-willed attitude and adapt a new attitude
"...Not as I will, but as thou wilt." Matthew 26:39
When another church member treats you wrongly:
Put off - the old sinful habit of bitterness and strife.
Put on - the new habit of politely but firmly confronting them about it in love.
Use anger's emotional energy to boldly deal with the problem and resolve it instead of "losing
it" behind their back or becoming bitter toward them.
"Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and
tell him his fault between thee and him alone..." Matthew 18:15
Don't let fear prevent you from dealing with it. Remember how bold we can be when angry.
Attack the problem not the person.
When something comes up that is totally beyond your control:
Put off - the old habit of getting frustrated and "losing it".
This thing may be beyond your control, but it is not beyond God's control.
Put on - the new habit of praying. Prayer is a solution in itself.
Use anger's emotional energy to motivate you to fervently pray.
"And I say unto you, ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and
ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you."
Don't let laziness keep you from praying. Remember
"...Ye have not, because ye ask not." James 4:2
When a problem arises that causes you to get
angry, do the following:
1) Don't ventilate or internalize. Put off
this sinful habit. Ask God to help you
catch yourself before you do it. Learn
not to be so hasty.
2) Determine what the problem is and
formulate a solution to it.
3) Put on the new habit of solving
problems as they arise. Don't
procrastinate or be lazy about it. Don't
be selfish. Take the time and deal with
it. Take advantage of anger's emotional
energy to motivate you. Attack the
problem not a person or object.
4) If the problem has to do with a
character flaw, start dealing with it
through Biblical counseling. If the
problem is beyond your means, pray.
Use that energy to pray fervently.
For more information please contact:
3303 23rd Avenue SouthWest
Fargo, North Dakota 58103
Pastor T. C. Scheving
[Christian Helps Ministry (USA)] [Christian Home Bible Course]