Verse of the Day Devotion: Ephesians 4:26-27
“Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger and give no opportunity to the devil.
We all, I am sure, have been angry with a brother or sister in Christ. It could be for various reasons, but we need to be careful how we react to these situations. In reading this, Paul is not saying that anger is a sin, but it is our response that can be sinful. Note the phrase, ‘be angry, and yet do not sin.’ Anger at sin is not wrong. And displaying displeasure for a bad action is not sinful either. We should be unhappy with actions or deeds that are not for the glory of God and the good of others. However, we must be careful that we do not go beyond what is of a Godly manner.
This same idea is expressed in the psalms, where we read, “Tremble, and do not sin; Meditate in your heart upon your bed and be still. Selah.” Psalm 4:4. This is a writing by David in response to ungodly people who are acting against the way God desires. “O sons of men, how long will my honor become a reproach? How long will you love what is worthless and aim at deception? Selah. But know that the LORD has set apart the godly man for Himself; The LORD hears when I call to Him.” Psalm 4:2-3. This is probably referring to Absalom and his men, whom he calls ‘sons of men’ responding to their situation of human feelings and passions, far from how God would desire them to. This could very well refer to David’s rank and the desire of them, in their rebellion, to rob him of his position as king and reduce him to a lowly position. What David was telling them was, just as Paul said, be angry but do not sin. If they think they have a cause to be angry, they should not let it carry them to rebellion against God and their king. He was chosen as king by God, for them to rebel against him was to go against the will of God, which is sin.
We may disagree with someone about something, or we may not like what someone has done, but we must be careful how we respond. Again, we can be angry, but it must not take us to a sinful response. Unfortunately, we are not perfect, but we must not go to sleep angry. If we do get angry with someone, we must address it quickly so that we do not carry it for days or more. We should not go to sleep with any unkind or unchristian feelings. We must go to God and pray that we can resolve it quickly, If we allow the anger to fester, it may produce malice and revenge. This prolonged temper cannot bring about peace of conscience or the approval of God.
And lastly, we must not allow the devil to take this anger and use it for his purposes. He will strive to influence us through our anger and irritation of spirit to take our mind off of the ways of God to address them via our own fallen desires. He will work to get us to gossip and spread our anger to others and help us to feel somewhat better for the opportunity to tell others what someone did to us. This is not good and will not end well.
Things are going to make us angry: we live in a fallen world and we are not perfect. Again, anger in and of itself is not wrong. It is our response that can bring us to sin. However, we must understand that no one is perfect, not even ourselves. I am sure I have made people angry for things I have said and done. However, as we want people to be gracious with us when we wrong someone, we should do the same when other wrong us. Remember what Jesus said, “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12. Do we want someone to be gracious to us when we slip up? Then we need to be gracious to others when they do. Make things right as soon as possible, then move forward and live as God desires.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.