Be Angry But Do Not Sin

The Apostle Paul, writing to the church in Ephesus, exhorts them to put away falsehood, speak truthfully, and not to let the sun go down while still angry.

And don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry. (Ephesian 4:26)

We all get angry from time to time, so it’s easier said than done, right?  Perhaps we feel judged, misunderstood, frustrated or for a multitude of other reasons, we get angry. The first time I read this scripture what struck me is that Paul does not tell us not to be angry, but instead tells us what to do when we are angry. I wish I could have understood this early on in my marriage. It was years before I read this scripture and realized that if I am angry at my husband, I need to try and resolve it before the day ends. In a perfect world this would always happen. But we do not live in a perfect world and neither are we perfect, however we can strive to resolve our issues before we go to bed. When we continue with unresolved anger,  relationships suffer as feelings are pushed down until the storm erupts.

I wonder how Paul came to terms with this; how he was so wise in saying these things to the community of believers in Ephesus. Perhaps he had learned the hard way. Perhaps he had a bad temper and a stronger believer taught this truth to him. Now I am off on my vain imaginings….. What we do know is that it was important enough for him to teach his fellow believers to take note that anger can be a tool in the enemy’s hand.

And do not give the devil a foothold. (Ephesians 4:27)

In the early years of my marriage, I opened the door to the devil each time I refused to resolve an issue. Perhaps this is where you are right now. You are angry with someone who has let you down or treated you unfairly. Take note of what you do next. Continue to open the door to more of the same, or determine to not give the enemy the foothold and deal with it.

Today my husband and I were running errands and we were talking about how some people are very relational and others are not. Some people like me are touchy-feely and others are not. My husband and children are all more reserved, and then there is me. Sometimes I feel like I am on an island by myself surrounded by introverts. My one daughter even told me ” Mom please do not start your emails to me with my dearest daughter- that’s too much.” Guess who is not touchy feely? So all this to say, it has made me angry in the past, wanting them to respond to me as I respond to them.

What I have come to learn is that God has uniquely created each of us. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made in His image and to bring Him glory. Who am I to want to change them?

What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator Does a clay pot argue with its maker?  (Isaiah 44:9)

Friends, it may be something as futile as being angry that you are made one way and others another way. It may be something you are angry about that needs to be resolved and may take hard work. Your anger may even be justified. At the end of the day, the Word tells us that we may get angry, but we must not sin by taking anger to the next level.

So today, do you have unresolved anger? Do you wish to change someone and when you cannot you are angry about it? Have you become bitter because your anger has been stuffed down and at any moment may erupt? The Lord can and will help you through this. And then the next time anger threatens to overtake you, remember Paul’s words:

Do not let the sun set on your anger. 

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