“In your anger do not sin”:
Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Eph. 4:26–27 NIV
Lord Jesus, when the doorbell rings, none of us simply throws our front door open, welcoming strangers inside. Oh, that we’d be that wise when the devil comes knocking on the door of our hearts and home.
Of course, if he approached us in a red jumpsuit with a three-pronged pitchfork in hand, sporting 1960’s style beatnik goatee, we’d have no problem turning him away. Unfortunately, he often comes in through the unlocked backdoor, a crack in a window, or down the chimney of our impatience, irritation, disappointments, or anger—especially our anger.
Jesus, help us steward our anger. It’s a confusing, important, and lethal emotion. Many of us have been on the destructive end of anger and rage. The fear, shame, and ambivalence of being in the presence of, or targets of, unfiltered anger are paralyzing. We don’t wish such a crushing of the spirit on anyone.
Others of us know what it feels like to be around people who leak the toxins of passive-aggressiveness, criticism, and disapproval. The truth is, people we love sometimes feel that attitude emitting from us.
Jesus, you’re not telling us never to be angry, but when we do feel this emotion, to be careful not to sin. We must learn to steward the emotion of anger. We need grace. We need help, Lord. Help us be angry at the right time, for the right reasons, in the right way.
Only you can melt the icy tension in our hearts. Only you can change our rigidity into playfulness. Only you can transform the wasted energy of our anger into patience and loving-kindness. Only you can supersize our kindness, humility, and gentleness.
Right now, Lord Jesus, we throw open every door and window of our hearts. Come in and establish multiple footholds of mercy, grace, and compassion. We abandon ourselves to your beauty and bounty. So very Amen, we pray, in your kind and powerful name.