Triumphant Life Ministries Newsletter              Vol. 3, No. 3                    September, 1987

 

BE ANGRY AND SIN NOT

Habitually repressing the awareness of anger causes people to fail to set limits for those who would damage them or their loved ones.  This lifestyle is also likely to cause depression and headaches of “unknown cause.”  On the other hand, responding impulsively to anger harms mental, physical, and spiritual health and relationships.

The command, “Be angry and sin not,” is given in both Old and New Testaments (Ps. 4:4, Eph. 4:26).  Some have wondered whether this is a command to be angry.  This is more likely a statement of caution regarding those inevitable times when anger will occur.  Because of the sinfulness of others self, and the widespread differences between God’s and man’s plans and timetables, anger is sure to occur in every life at times.

If everyone suddenly began fulfilling the scriptural command to “Be angry and sin not,” much of the need for psychiatric treatment would be eliminated!

The usual response of the natural mind to anger is to practice bitterness and retaliation.  This is likely to produce harmful sin against God, others, and self.

Effects of responding to anger by practicing bitterness and retaliation can include the following:  anxiety, fear, scholastic, vocational, or moral failure, alcoholism or drug abuse, schizophrenia, manic depression, high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes.  Practicing anger can alienate one from God, family, others, and self, and can cause divorce, suicide, or homicide.

No wonder that God wants us to respond to anger without sinning!  How can this be done?

The emotion of anger is similar to pain.  It is a signal that something is wrong that requires attention.  When anger arises, mentally pause, rather than immediately reacting to the anger.  This pause can protect you from allowing the anger to control your attitudes, words, or behavior.

During this pause, ask yourself two questions.  “What situation or person caused this anger?” and “What is a wise response to that situation or person?”  Then decide to respond in that wise way.  The anger must then be immediately rejected, for it no longer serves any useful purpose.

Reject anger by visualizing ropes of bitterness between you and everyone with whom you have been angry.  Then visualize yourself cutting every rope completely through, thereby freeing yourself from all the anger and all it’s negative effects.

In this way, you can respond to life’s challenges based on wisdom, which comes from God, rather than allowing anger to control you.  Your health, relationships, and life will be much better when you allow yourself to thus “Be angry and sin not.”

 

Joseph Luke Palotta, M.D.

Christian Psychiatrist

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