Most angry people know one Bible verse: “Be angry” as a license to show anger at will.
In Ephesians 4:26, the present command to
“be continually angry” does not refer to an impulsive, momentary rage, nor is it an anger provoked by an inward, seething resentment; instead, the word means a deep and determined conviction.
This is not a personal response to an offense or hurt but indignation against a wrong, immoral, or an unjust situation.
This is the anger Jesus felt against the money changers’ abuse in the temple (Matt 21:12; Jn 2:15), but He was never selfishly angered at anything done against Him personally. Sinful anger is anger for personal benefit— that is, when one expresses resentment or hurt to another to get even with that person. Any form of vengeance done in anger is sin.
Anger, even holy indignation, can degenerate into hatred, dislike, resentment, bitterness, and malice, all of which are forbidden. For this reason, Paul adds additional prohibitions: “do not sin; do not let the sun go down on the cause of your anger.”
Anger is a dangerous response; as James wrote, “Let every man . . . be slow to anger; for the wrath (anger) of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:19– 20). Emotional responses produce inequitable punishments.
Paul described “outbursts of anger” (Gal 5:20) as the “works of the flesh” (5:19). In angry situations, the believer can demonstrate the filling of the Spirit by exercising “self- control” (Gal 5:23).
We are warned, “A wrathful man stirs up strife” (Prov 15:18). Wisdom says it is best to not be friends with an angry person (22:24). Also, a key symptom of a foolish person is his constant display of anger (Eccl 7:9). If, or when, anger does arise within our emotional bank, then we are commanded, “Do not let the sun go down on the cause of your anger.”
Here the word for anger refers to a “provoked anger”— an anger arising from internal convictions rather than external provocation.
Sinful anger is basically a selfish, undisciplined, and vindictive behavior that has no place in the Christian lifestyle and destroys peace among brethren.
“Father, teach me to be angry at what angers You and to have grace to recognize my self- centered anger as sin and manipulation to get my way.”
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