When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath
(your exasperation, your fury or indignation)
last until the sun goes down.
Ephesians 4:26 Amplified
I’m going to take a brief detour off my current path to talk about anger. I’ve received the above verse as a correction as well as a timely reminder, but I see it today as something else. It is an acknowledgement of the reality that we will get angry—and a practical guide for what to do when that happens.
Yesterday I was easily provoked. I was running hot, if you will. Every hour or so, something set me off. This has happened to me before, quite a few times in fact. It usually happens when God’s really digging into me to bring some long-buried lie about Him to the surface. So I find it hard to bear myself or my life right now. I’m just a powder keg.
The first part of this verse is clear that anger is no excuse for sin. And I really need that check, because I don’t just get irritated or annoyed. I get furious and indignant and wrathful. This verse is very real to me! I’m grateful that my Father hems me in with His loving command not to sin; I need to hear it on days like these.
The Scripture goes on to warn us not to let our “wrath last until the sun goes down.” Don’t go to bed angry, right? No problem. But it doesn’t say, “Immediately cease your anger!” And there’s a fair number of hours before the sun goes down. I think God knows that anger has a place; He made us in His image after all. So I give myself the day, the freedom to simmer and boil when there’s too much going on inside to be contained.
In the evening, I throw my anger at Jesus’ feet and let it go. The less I fight against it, the quicker the source of my rage is revealed, brought to the Light and released. I don’t allow the anger to rule me any more, but I also don’t fight so hard to punish my very human heart that experiences anger in the first place. My anger is part of being alive, and to fight it is to fight the One who made me.
Give thanks in everything,
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thess. 5:18 HCSB
“Everything” includes both righteous anger as well as my inexplicable bouts of temper. I bow my will and thank God for all the parts of me that are exhausting and humiliating and beyond my control. The more I do this, the more I’m able to accept who I am in the moment—and not just when I’m in a good place. And the more I accept me without conditions, the more easily I experience the love of the Father.
May we all thank God today for one of the things about ourselves that we’d most like to change, and so experience the Father’s great love for us, without obstacle!