If we get angry with an unbeliever how do we handle that?
We are subject to the higher standards of God as believers in Jesus. In many cases, especially with unbelievers, this makes it doubly hard. Unbelievers are watching us and they know that we are subjected to higher standards.
They are watching for us to mess up. These are things they think they can hold over our heads. But we must remember that we are not subject to them. We are subject to Christ. They may think they have gained something over Christians or the Bible when they make us angry.
So how do we handle anger when it has to do with an unbeliever? First, Jesus teaches us that anger is the same as murder (Matthew 5:21-22). Throughout the New Testament we are taught to put anger away from us (Romans 12:19; Ephesians 4:26, 31; Colossians 3:8; James 1:20).
But this is a very high standard. Everyone gets angry. It may be because of injustice against us or against others. It could be the attitudes of others. Whatever the source of the anger, our emotions will happen.
What matters is what we choose to do with those emotions. When we get angry with anyone, including unbelievers, and we show it, we must figure out what to do with what has happened. If we only show anger and speak truthfully and righteously, then we need not do anything.
If we show anger through our speech that does not glorify Christ, then we need to own up to it. Before the unbeliever even gets a chance to taunt us about falling short of Jesus’ teachings, we need to say, “I spoke out of anger. I am sorry.”
If they accept our apology then it is good. If not, Jesus has heard it. He is the only one we are responsible to in that case. It doesn’t hurt to remind them that Christians are imperfect humans doing their best to follow the perfect Christ.
If our anger comes out through our actions, we must still hold ourselves to the teachings of Christ. We must apologize for these actions against an unbeliever. The higher standard of Jesus and our representation of him on this earth is important to Jesus.
Becoming angry with unbelievers, or with anyone, is a humbling experience. Although we cannot control the fact that we have anger, we can control what we do with it. Our words and actions must glorify Christ. Even if we falter, we can ask for forgiveness and receive it at least from Jesus.