Ephesians 4:26 (BBE) Be angry without doing wrong; let not the sun go down on your wrath;
I have often wondered what adherence to the above passage looks like. Usually when I see someone angry, he or she behaves in ways that I would consider sinful. I include myself in that, of course. I might say something hateful, be sarcastic, or speak unkindly about someone. It has been difficult for me to imagine what anger without sin looks like.
Until the other day when I was visiting my daughter Rachel, that is. We were fixing to go out back to play. Elijah was dressed and Rachel was getting Abby ready. I noticed that Eli’s face was torn up so I asked him what was wrong.
“I’m mad at Mama,” he said. He walked into the hallway where Rachel was working with Abby. He stood there patiently, waiting for Rachel to look at him. When she did, he pulled back his arms, holding them straight, and bent over and gave her an angry look that–well, it was a look that a mother can bear but it would break the heart of a grandmother and send her home crying. Then he walked back into the living room and sat down on the couch.
I was surprised and pleased by his behavior. I said, “I like how you showed your anger, Eli. Very good job.” He hadn’t said an unkind word, he hadn’t thrown a toy, he hadn’t stormed off pouting, and it was all over. Nothing had to be fixed–Rachel didn’t do anything to make him happy nor did she discipline him.
Now, some might say an almost-four-year-old child shouldn’t look angrily at his parents and that even that is wrong. But I was impressed. I hope I can learn from my grandson to make my anger known in a calm and acceptable manner, without any harsh words that tend to make matters worse and without expecting anything from the other person. We have control only over ourselves. We can’t force others to do what we want; we can let them know how we feel, and then we need to do as Eli did and walk away.