Be Ye Angry And Sin Not
Dennis L. Reed

To illustrate the message of our article this week, please consider to following story about placing nails In the fence.

"There once was a young man who was having a serious problem being able to control his temper.  His father gave him a bag of nails and told him, that every time he lost his temper, he should hammer a nail into the back of the wood fence.

On the first day, the young man had driven several nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he was learning to control his temper, the number of nails which he hammered daily were gradually dwindling down. He was finding that it was easier to control the temper than it was to hammer nails into the fence.  Finally the day came when the temper was so under control that he would not have to hammer any nails into the fence.  When he told his father of his accomplishment, His father suggested that now the boy should pull one nail out of the fence for every day that went by with him being able to be in control his temper. The days passed and finally the boy was able to tell his father that all of the nails had been removed from the fence.

The father put his arms around his son's shoulder and led him to the fence.  He then said to him, you have done well, my son, but look at all the holes that were left in the fence. The fence will never be the same!  When you do are say things in anger they leave a scar on people just like these holes in the fence.  You can put a knife into another person, and draw it out, but no matter how many times you tell that individual that you are sorry, the scar of the wound will always remain there.  And we must remember that a verbal wound is just as damaging, and will leave a scar, just as much as a physical wound.  The holes which we make in the fence will always remain there, even after we have repented of our wrong."  

James 1:19-21 tells us, "Ye know this, my beloved brethren. But let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:  for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.  Wherefore putting away all filthiness and overflowing of wickedness, receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls."  The Christian must absolutely learn to control his emotions, which in turn will monitor both the tongue and the anger which results in wrath.  It will also prevent us from leaving scars on the hearts of others.

One of the qualifications of a bishop (elder) is that he is "not soon angry" (Titus 1:7).  In Ephesians 4:26, we are admonished, "Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:".  In Matthew 5:21-22, Jesus speaks of the danger involved when one becomes angry with his brother, "Ye have heard that it was said to them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: but I say unto you, that every one who is angry with his brother shall be in danger of the judgment; and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; and whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of the hell of fire.".  In Colossians 3:8-10, anger is classified with other sins which are very closely associated with it, all of which are a part of the old man which we are told to put away,  "but now do ye also put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, railing, shameful speaking out of your mouth: lie not one to another; seeing that ye have put off the old man with his doings, and have put on the new man, that is being renewed unto knowledge after the image of him that created him:".  In Ephesians 4:31-32 we are told that anger and the sins associated with it are to be replaced in our heart and life with kindness, tenderheartedness, and forgivness, "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and railing, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, even as God also in Christ forgave you."

In Mark 3:5, Jesus is spoken of as having anger, but we know that sin was not a result of such, "And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved at the hardening of their heart, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he stretched it forth; and his hand was restored."  From a careful study of the scriptures, we recognize that some circumstances of anger are not sinful in themselves, and that is the basic reason why we are told, "Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:". (Ephesians 4:26).  We must develop the ability to fully control such emotions and not let them turn into bitterness or wrath.  Anger is a normal emotion and we are given ample instruction about how we are to handle ourselves when we are presented with situations in which we are provoked.   "Avenge not yourselves, beloved, but give place unto the wrath of God: for it is written, Vengeance belongeth unto me; I will recompense, saith the Lord.  But if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him to drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." (Romans 12:19-21).