It is convicting that many of the verses that are near and dear to the heart of my friends are about how best to live out the Christian life. My friend, Vivian, has chosen Ephesians 4:26-27 as verses that speak to her heart and remind her how best to live for Jesus. “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil.” These verses are situated in a paragraph that follows Paul’s command in verses 23-24 “ to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,”. He concludes that accepting Christ’s transforming, redeeming power in ones life will cause you to live a different type of life. Ephesians 4:25 then starts with Therefore. In scripture this means everything I’ve said before about living a transformed life is true and will lead to the following actions. Paul goes on to list what a redeemed life will look like.
Paul describes the transformed person as one who speaks the truth with his neighbor, may be angry but does not let it lead to sinful actions, does honest work, speaks good positive words, is honoring to the Holy Spirit with their hearts and actions, endeavors to avoid bitterness and evil thoughts and is kind and forgiving of one another. (See complete text below.)
Vivian has chosen verses here that focus on not allowing anger she feels about people, circumstances, etc. to lead her to sin. Harboring resentment, being bitter or letting the anger fester will lead to a break or block in her relationship with the Lord and others. The reminder to not let the sun go down on her anger is so true. If you go to bed angry, you will awaken with that unresolved anger in your heart. It will begin to turn towards bitterness if you are not carefully aware. The wisdom of scripture here is practical and life changing if applied each and every day. Letting resentment and bitterness begin and holding on to unforgiveness gives the devil an opening to tempt us to sin. Sin produces an attitude that holds on to anger and can lead to ruined relationships, resentment and bitterness. Anger is a tricky emotion that can be good if used rightly but harmful if it is used for and towards selfish desires. Thoughts like “they are always against me”, “he really meant to do me harm”, ”look at how he/she made this my fault”…. All of these are thoughts that can easily come out of anger and lead to sin. Sin affects our relationship with God and blocks our full communication with Him and also can turn and undermine any relationship in which we are involved. I think Vivian is wise to remember these verses and strive to live with her anger being both well placed and under control.
I pray these verses will cause you to seek God in prayer and let the Holy Spirit help you examine your ‘anger issues’ before Him.
Here are a couple of other verses about anger from Psalm 37:8 and Proverbs 16:32 to meditate upon.
Ephesians 4:25-32 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.