Anger Dealt with Quickly…

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 [ESV]

in these two verses we take a short departure from the ‘do not do this but do that’ pattern of the section. Instead, we have a ‘do it this way’ exhortation. Paul is telling us that there is an anger that is not sinful but to let it simmer is. There are some that say that this covers a lot of types of sin but I don’t think so. When you look at the Greek words used for ‘anger’ and ‘angry’ in this text, you get orgizō (enraged) and parorgismos (provocation) respectively. When Paul is saying ‘Be angry’, he is referring to being enraged, but the provocation word makes this the kind of anger where you are provoked to an angry response. Like when the bible says that “God is angered by sin”. However, anger for anger’s sake is never right, but a righteous anger might be justified.

Simmering anger, even when justified, hurts us and even marginalizes our health. When anger simmers the devil gets an opportunity to divide and conquer. In Matthew 5, Jesus urges that if someone has something against a brother, it is to be dealt with before bringing an offering to worship God. Part of the check on justified anger is to not let it linger. The explanation is seen in the next command to not allow the sun to go down on one’s anger, which is a metaphor for not letting that reaction hang around. The present tense tied to the exhortation ‘do not let the sun set’ means that this is to always be our response. Anger may come, even for good cause, but it is not to hang around like a cloud over relationships.

When anger hangs around, opportunity comes to the devil. This has to be avoided. No place is to be given to him; the devil should not be allowed to stir the pot. The devil should be given no place at the table of relationships in the community. This whole line of thinking points to the larger context of the drive toward unity in biblical community.


First and foremost, I should not be looking for opportunities of righteous anger. That is not the point of the passage. Paul is saying that as humans made in God’s image there will points in my life where the initial response of anger is not sinful, but if I stew and ponder, it will become resentment and bitterness which is a key foothold for satan to have chink in my armor in which to insert a fiery dart. Additionally, I must have a heart like the Lord’s which is slow to anger (James 1:20). I must be careful in the justification of my anger as I have a tendency to lean in the feeling of ‘rights driven’ frustration and anger which when the provocation is something that incites anger that is birthed from pride, this is when there is a REAL danger.

Today’s Psalm:

The wicked borrows but does not pay back,
but the righteous is generous and gives;
for those blessed by the LORD shall inherit the land,
but those cursed by him shall be cut off.

Psalms 37:21-22 [ESV]

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