Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath. (Ephesians 4:26)
Along with Romans 12 and Colossians 3, Ephesians 4 is one of the great chapters in the NT on practical Christian living. Personally, I find the instruction given here in verse 26 particularly interesting. Let's concentrate for a moment on that first phrase, Be ye angry. Sounds like a command to me. Sounds like there could be times when a Christian ought to get angry. And I believe that's exactly what the verse is saying.
Here are some notes I took down in my Bible long ago...
An apology for anger
- Anger is commanded (Eph. 4:26)
- The Spirit of the Lord moved Saul to become angry (1 Sam. 11:6)
- God is angry with the wicked every day (Ps. 7:11)
- Jesus was consistently angry with the Pharisees (Mk. 3:5)
Guidelines for anger
- Have a cause (Mt. 5:22)
- Sin not (Eph. 4:26)
- Get it dealt with; avoid bitterness (Eph. 4:26)
- Be slow to anger (Neh. 9:17; Ps. 103:8; 145:8; Prov. 15:18; 16:32; Joel 2:13; Jon. 4:2; Nah. 1:3; Ti. 1:7; Jm. 1:19)
- Defer your anger (Ps. 78:38; Prov. 19:11)
Warnings about anger
- Cease from (Ps. 37:8; Eph. 4:31; Col. 3:8)
- foolish anger (Ps. 38:3; Prov. 14:17; Ecc. 7:9)
The anger of the Lord was kindled
- Because of unbelief (Exo. 4:14; Num. 32:10-14)
- Because of murmuring (Num. 11:1)
- Because of envy (Num. 12:9)
- Because of compromise/ecumenicism (Num. 25:3; Deu. 6:14-15; Ps. 106:29)
- Because of Israel's vain gods (Deu. 32:21-22; Jos. 23:16; 1 Kn. 16:13)
- Because of Israel's breach of their covenant with Him (Deu. 29)
- Against Balaam, for his covetousness (Num. 22:22)
- Against Uzza, for failing to heed His clear instruction (2 Sam. 6:7)
- And on the list could go…
Here's what we need to think about. We all get angry, but what is it that gets us there? What makes us tic? Come on, honestly, what causes us to lose it? A righteous thing or a stupid thing? Sin in our lives? Failure to take advantage of an opportunity to witness? Our own shortcomings? Or losing the remote? Tripping over the dog? A squabble with a sibling? Spilling ketchup all over our clothes? Losing the game?
And when we do get angry, how do we handle it? Do we handle it and get it over with? Or do e let it brew a while? Are we quick to anger or does it take a while to get us there? Do we ever decide it's just not worth it to be angry?