Scripture Reading: Ephesians 4:25-32
“Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” (Ephesians 4:26,27)
All anger is not sinful. However, for most of us, a great deal of our anger is sinful. Anger that is not sinful is the righteous indignation we have when we see God being dishonored and when we see injustice being inflicted upon other human beings. This anger is prompted by the sinful acts of people against God and against others.
Let’s be honest, most of our anger is an emotional reaction toward someone who doesn’t do what we want them to do or who keeps us from doing what we want to do. This kind of anger comes from our selfish, sinful hearts. James says, “For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness that God requires” (James 1:20).
When I catch myself getting defensive and angry, I know it is prompted by my pride and selfishness. Pride is one of the major culprits! When we are proud and someone criticizes us, we get defensive and angry. We refuse to listen to what they have to say, even if we know it may be true. Then we go on the offensive. We get angry and become filled with hostility toward the person. We then speak hateful and unwholesome words or act our anger out in some inappropriate manner. In some cases we may even retaliate with acts of bitterness toward the other person.
In the case of righteous anger, the Scripture is clear: “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” Righteous anger is always directed toward the sin and not toward the sinner. We must realize that when someone acts in in appropriate ways, usually something inside that person is not right. We must attempt to get to the problem underneath the behavior.
Even righteous anger must not be internalized — “do not let the sun go down on your anger.” Anger that is internalized leads to bitterness. It becomes like a cancer deep within our beings. When this happens, we open the door to Satan — “give no opportunity to the devil.”
When we begin to feel anger toward other people, look at Jesus — “Consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against Himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted” (Hebrews 12:3). “When He was reviled, He did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but continued entrusting Himself to Him who judges justly” (I Peter 2:23).
Lord Jesus, I confess that I often get angry at other people. I acknowledge that most of my anger is sinful because I am proud and get defensive. Please grant forgiveness to me and take away any bitterness I may have toward others. When I sense anger coming on, let me consider You who endured from sinners unimaginable hostility. You did not retaliate; but You simply entrusted Yourself to God who is the supreme Judge.
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