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Session 17

You Can Be Angry and Not Sin

Read: Colossians 3:7-8

During His time on Earth, Jesus not only felt anger but acted on it. After seeing people dishonor God by turning the temple courts into a place of business, Jesus made a whip out of cords and drove them all out. He cleared out the sheep and cattle they were selling, and overturned the tables where their money was stacked (John 2:13-17).

In Colossians 3:7-8, the apostle Paul says we must rid ourselves of anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language. If Jesus felt anger, and Paul follows Jesus, why is Paul saying to rid ourselves of anger?

In his letter to the church in Colossae, Paul is warning against unrighteous or disobedient anger. An example of unrighteous anger can be found in Numbers 20:8-12. God told Moses to speak to a rock and water would come out of it. Instead of speaking to the rock, Moses lost control and struck the rock. Moses’s anger was justified — the people of Israel were whiny and rebellious — but Moses dishonored God by disobeying God’s command. As a result of Moses’s disobedience, he wasn’t allowed to enter the promised land.

God gave us our emotions, including anger, as alerts. Anger is the alert that goes off when something is wrong and our desire for justice wants to make it right. Anger leads to sin when we allow our anger to control us instead of seeking God’s instruction on how to respond. How different would our response to anger be if we prayed and asked God how He would have us respond?

Reflect:

  • What makes you angry? When angry, what is your typical response?
  • What is one way you can honor God in your anger?
  • If you have dishonored God in your anger, what is a next step for you to make it right?
  • What is one way that you can begin to rid yourself of unrighteous or dishonorable anger?

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