Ephesians 4:26-27 - 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.
Unrighteous anger is kind of like dynamite. Once the wick is lit it’s just a matter of time before that person blows up in an outburst of anger and sin. When that happens it’s not pretty, nor is it God glorifying. This is why God tells us in verse 26 “Be angry and do not sin...” God wants us to have healthy anger. For us to have healthy anger we need to understand that there is righteous anger and unrighteous anger.
Righteous anger is anger that is moral, holy and God glorifying. Righteous anger is often fueled by hating things that are evil or sinful. God has righteous anger. Time and time again we see in Scripture God getting angry at sin or at people who sin. Even Jesus got angry (see Matt. 21:12-13). God’s wrath is an expression of his righteous anger directed towards sin and sinners. When we hate sin and things that are evil we are imaging God by displaying righteous anger. But there is another kind of anger - unrighteous anger. This is the kind of anger Paul warns against. Unrighteous anger is anger that is immoral, unholy and doesn’t glorify God. Unrighteous anger is often fueled by selfishness and sinfulness.
When Paul says, “Be angry and do not sin” he is saying it’s ok to have righteous anger but be careful how you express your anger. This means there is a way to display and communicate anger that is righteous and a way to display and communicate anger that is sinful. When something unjust happens, and you speak out against the injustice with words of truth spoken in love you are expressing righteous anger in a healthy, holy way; however, if someone lights your wick and you explode on them you are sinning in your anger.
In verse 27 Paul said, “give no opportunity to the devil.” The point is clear: when we get angry and sin, we are being more like Satan than Jesus. The good news is that whenever we sin in our anger we can ask God and whoever we sinned against for forgiveness knowing that the cross of Jesus makes forgiveness possible.
• Have there been times in your life when you sinned in anger? If so, what happened?
• Is there anyone you need to seek forgiveness from because of your sinful anger? If so, who? What does it look like to ask that person to forgive you?
• Action - Spend time in prayer praising God for making forgiveness of unrighteous anger possible.