No Need to be Red-Hot Angry :: By Edwin Tan

“Be angry and do not sin, do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil” (Ephesians 4:26-27).

As I reflect on the advice given by the Lord through the above-mentioned verse, it somehow brings me back to my early adulthood. Not so much because I was quite a hothead then, but somehow I candidly look back at something I grew out of. One of my favorite television shows then was The Incredible Hulk – the infamous catch phrases, “Don’t make me angry; you won’t like me when I’m angry.” Ugly scenes of rampage and wanton destruction followed when the beast in the man imploded. When he came to his senses, the man with torn clothes plus disheveled appearance sat on a bench by the beach – accompanied by the setting sun!

I can safely say that this a palatable downplay where the true nature and extent of anger is concerned. However, this is not just anger but red-hot anger, far from the salsa we occasionally savor. When something is red hot, it has the propensity to cause a large number of third-degree burns – moreover a lengthy timeframe is needed for the cooling-down process, if ever that was reachable.

Red-hot anger is truly counterproductive on a macro level. Misunderstandings and disputes between groups of individuals can be not just long-standing. It can result in not just collateral damage where those directly involved matter, but innocent parties caught in the crossfire also suffer immensely. Opportunities are thrown into the scrapheap alongside a myriad of hopes, dreams and aspirations. Resources are inadvertently misallocated in such an unwholesome climate; more law enforcement personnel, more soldiers, and social workers alongside the increased need for the likes of penitentiaries plus mental health facilities. It could translate into less resources available for schools, art museums, civic facilities, parks and a host of quality-of-life enhancement programs.

Even at a micro or a personal level, letting anger of an unbridled kind dominate your life truly devalues the joy of living. The obvious by-product of deep-seated angst is that of a fiery temper. From this we see foul language, rash decisions and quite a string of unwarranted altercations. Potential friends end up being on a hate list amidst an atmosphere of distrust and hostility. It can become an obsession which manifests itself in nightmares that could intersperse bouts of sleeplessness, and otherwise joyous meals end up as tasteless affairs! Do people ever sit down and wonder whether it is worthwhile letting all that unabated fury clutter the avenues that could allow for peace of mind? Pointless to live with everything in the material sense yet being manacled with unhappiness that stems from all that uncalled-for rage!

It is alright to display angst that does not allow sin to occupy the driver’s seat. It is healthy to denounce and show displeasure if injustice stares us in the face or if there is a blatant instance of unrighteousness. Not to do so by being indifferent amounts to lukewarm tendencies. In short, everything must be done in the spirit of self-control with love being the overriding factor. Prayer then becomes a pivotal element in any endeavor that is love-driven. 1 Peter 4:8 makes it very clear. “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”

So love will have control over the steering wheel. If there is another case for righteous anger, it must be bridled and consigned to the back seat. We can allow for a bountiful harvest to flourish when the bonds of love with one another are strengthened each day by the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

All for His Coming Kingdom and Glory,