I sin a lot…
If you are reading this, and your response to the previous statement is not, “yeah me too,” please go check out one of the many blogs on lying to yourself. It’s true. I sin a lot. Scripture, as well as the other major world religions, uses the word sin to describe a violation of God’s (or supreme) will. And truth is, most all of us, sin a lot.
So what’s the point? The point is that the Bible, in a ton of places says don’t do it. And yet, here we are, a lot of people, who all, sin a lot.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t like a lot of verses in the Bible. I don’t know if I can say that, but I m saying it anyways.
I get the whole, Thou shalt not kill thing. I’m good with that. No problem here.
A lot of times though I will read scripture and my response will be, “yeah right! Like that’s possible.” Or, “I just don’t want to do that.” I am not saying I don’t believe them to be true, valuable, relevant, or inspired, I am just saying I don’t like them.
The other day I read one such verse: “’In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the son go down while you are still angry.” (Ephesians 4:26)
Yeah Right, I want to respond back, “So, if not in anger then when can I sin?”
Seriously though. How many times have I gone to bed angry? How many times has my anger been the motivating force to my breaking God’s will, hurting someone, or hurting myself?
When I was a junior in high school, I punched a hole in the wall of my bedroom. I didn’t do it because I was remodeling and was missing a sledgehammer, nor because I had always hated that particular 6” space of drywall. I was angry. My dad had told me I was not allowed to run in the sectional track meet for my school. My hamstring was torn by the way, he was not some power hungry tyrant. Yet at the time, in that moment, I felt like I was living in a house with Stalin. Sorry dad, he’s not Stalin. But I was angry and at the time all he was missing was a mustache and an accent.
So I walked downstairs, and punched a hole right into my wall. Why the wall? No clue. The repairman who came later that week reminded me that the next time I did it would likely be the last because I would probably hit a stud and fracture my hand. I have since transitioned to punching baby kittens in my anger. Just kidding, but I haven’t punched another wall.
Why does God make a point of telling us not to sin in our anger? When I am angry is exactly when I want to sin. It’s like adding rockets to my tricycle; sin I never thought imaginable is easy when I am angry. Words I can say, things I can do, all come easier in anger.
And yet I think that is exactly why he reminds us to be careful when we are angry. Don’t flip the switch on the rocket, because it can spiral out of control. You aren’t yourself. Anger is an emotion and sin is an action. Paul doesn’t say, “don’t get angry.” He knows we will get angry. He instructs us what to do, or rather, what not to do, with our anger. Don’t let our anger turn into the wrong action.
I think the reason I hate this verse because It’s hard. Don’t let the sun go down? What if the fight was just before bedtime and the sun is already down?
But this verse is also powerful beyond belief. We are given a choice, allow your anger to fuel destruction, or mold it into righteous anger that fuels change. Will your anger fuel harsh words or honest conversation, slander or truth, violence or reconciliation?
I would love a passage that says, “Hey, here’s how to not get angry.” But I don’t get that because God doesn’t want us to abstain from anger. Righteous anger over global atrocities has sparked some of the most powerful and history-altering movements the world has seen.
It’s not about not getting angry, it’s about what to do with it. God doesn’t want us to waste out anger. It’s hard, I hate it. But when we let God inspire us from anger, we don’t allow our anger to inspire us to sin.