I read recently that “your temper is one of your most valuable possessions, so don’t lose it.” There is a lot of truth to that statement. We discussed last time how anger is not always sinful. If it were, then God sinned in Exodus 4:14 when He became angry. It would also mean Jesus sinned in Mark 3:5 when He became angry. But, we know that neither the Father nor His Son ever sinned or ever will. There are simply times and places when anger for the right reasons is justified. However, it is when we become angry for the wrong reasons, lose control of our anger (letting it control us), or dwell on our anger for long periods of time that we provide a way for sin to enter into and take hold of our lives.
Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus instructed them to “Be angry, and yet do not sin.” We continue this week in Ephesians 4:26 and 27 with “the rest of the story” where Paul wrote, “do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.” Paul was trying to convey to these first century Christians the dangers of anger. Those dangers are the same dangers we face today. It is not anger itself that is always the problem. Further problems arise when we allow our anger to take root and grow in our lives, rather than quickly resolving it. When we fail to put a swift end to our anger, we “give the devil an opportunity” to tempt us with all kinds of sinful conduct.
Paul also taught in Ephesians 4:31 that we must “let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.” Why? The answer is simple. These spiritual hazards will draw one away from God and the eternal peace He offers.
In practically the same breath, however, Paul teaches us what we need in order to draw closer to God through Christ Jesus. He writes in Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” In other words, we need to act and react just like Jesus did!
God does not forbid us from ever being angry. There are some things that merit certain frustrations. Nevertheless, God does want us to control our emotions. In fact, He wants us to control all aspects of our lives as we strive to serve Him and grow closer to Him.
Remember, “anger” is just one letter short of “danger.”