“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.
This might be the best advice anyone ever gave you. No, not mine, but the words of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 4.
When my wife and I were married, we made a pact that only one of us was allowed to be angry at a time. And, we would never go to bed angry with one another. It was a given that disputes were inevitable. So we devised a plan for resolving conflict.
Back in 1971, we weren’t what you would call Bible scholars. We carried the name Christian and attended church. I suppose you could say we were running on the general principles of the faith, doing the best we could. As was so often the case, I relied on my grandmother for wise counsel. She’s the one who told me, “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.”
There’s more indispensable advice in our focus text. “In your anger do not sin.” In the process of blowing your top, you risk giving “the devil a foothold.” When you lose control of your emotions, especially when the target of your frustration is with another person, you are opening the door to Satan and saying, “Come on in.”
Anger leads to sin easily and swiftly. It causes us to do and say things we shouldn’t, and it often leads to irreparable harm. Anger is not the language of love, but the language of hate. Anger destroys relationships and our Christian witness, which is precisely what the Devil wants. Nothing pleases him more than to destroy good and godly relationships, cause enmity and strife, and ruin reputations.
In my 69 years, I have never known anybody who didn’t get angry. It is a basic human emotion common to everyone. But it must be managed, or unwanted trouble and hardship is sure to come.
Paul’s statement anticipates anger. He says, “In your anger…” When it happens this is what you do about it. Manage it. Keep it under control. Don’t allow it to cause you to sin.
It is better to spend an entire night without sleep than go to bed mad at someone, especially those you love. Don’t we owe the people we love the benefit of working at reconciliation BEFORE that little flame turns into a consuming fire?
When I get angry, it’s not an attractive sight. I become irrational, say stupid stuff, and have been known to kick or throw something of value, like a lamp. I’ve never pitched a graceful fit. In my defense, I’m not a hothead, and I seldom get angry. Maybe that’s why my hissies are so awkward. Limited experience.
Here’s the thing. Anger hurts others. I sure don’t want to hurt anybody and I would imagine you feel the same way. But even though you and I have no intention of hurting others, Satan lives for it.
There are many things we can do to control anger. Bridling the tongue comes to mind. Just find what works best for you to prevent transitioning from anger into sin. Deal with it before it becomes a destructive problem.
Even if you’ve been married for a long time, it’s not too late to take advantage of Paul’s wise counsel. “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.” I promise, it works.
For more on this topic, check out this article: God Even Rescues Us from Ourselves
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 2 (April – June) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.