Don’t Tick Me Off


Why is everybody so bummed out at me for just letting it all hang out? I can’t help it, I just got out of bed on the wrong side this morning, so I’m grouchy and grumpy. I’m in a bad mood, so don’t tick me off.

Our hearts are so slippery, and the sin that remains within is so deceptive it’s hard to nail it down. It’s like trying to nail down mercury. In our culture, we have learned to substitute a whole host of non-biblical language to avoid calling our behavior sin.

Especially slippery is our language in the area of anger. We say things like I got a little hot under the collar, or I was annoyed. I’m irritated. I got upset. You’re frustrating me.

How about this one? I was just letting off steam. And I love this one: I was venting. These actually sound like good things to do. I mean, who wants to let all that steam build up inside them? You don’t want to blow up do you?

Last week, this guy starts insulting me and calling me names, so you know what I did? I vented.

You what?

I vented.

In public?

Proverbs 16:32 doesn’t say “Whoever is slow to let off steam is better than the mighty,” but “Whoever is slow to anger…”

What is so bad about using non-biblical language like venting? If we don’t see sin for what it is, we can’t treat it properly or cure it. If I had cancer, but the doctor diagnosed it as stomach flu, an antibiotic wouldn’t cure it. I would want him to call it what it was.

Sin is the cause of all our problems. The cure for sin is the blood of Christ, repentance and confessing our sin.

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us (1 JN 1.8-10).

We must confess our sins in order to receive forgiveness and cleansing. But if we don’t identify our anger as sin, we won’t confess it or find forgiveness for it or overcome it. Who is going to ask forgiveness for “venting”? Who is going to say, “Father, forgive me for letting off steam?” Who is going repent of being a little hot under the collar? Heck, I get hot under the collar cutting the grass in the summer.

Let’s call our anger what it is – sin. Then we can ask God’s forgiveness for our anger. We can go to our spouse or friend and ask, “Would you please forgive me for my anger?”

Now don’t get me riled up.

I’m a pastor at Saving Grace Church in Indiana, PA. I’m married to Kristi, have 5 kids, and a growing number of grandkids. I enjoy songwriting, oil painting and coffee, not necessarily in that order.