Be angry and do not sin;
do not let the sun go down on your anger. Ephesians 4:26
Is this verse a contradiction? First it says, “Be angry.” Then it says, “Do not sin.” Aren’t those opposites? Is it possible to be angry without sinning? Picture the last time you got really angry. How did you act? What were you angry about? It is hard to imagine being angry without sinning, because our anger is usually self-centered. We like to think of ourselves as having “righteous anger,” but in truth it is usually “self-righteous anger.” We get angriest when people mistreat us, disrespect us, or cheat us. We hang on to this anger because we believe something is owed to us. But hanging on to anger only turns it into bitterness. So is it possible to be angry without sinning?
Anger is merely an emotion, like sadness. When someone or something wrongs us, our emotions are stirred. God gave us those emotions, but we are not victims of them. We have choices.
When anger hits us, we can:
1) Use it to resolve a situation. Mothers Against Drunk Driving was formed when a mother used her anger to bring change.
2) Drop it because it’s not that big a deal. Some things just aren’t worth the passion we give them.
3) Choose to forgive and move on. Forgiveness relinquishes to God our rights for revenge. We trust Him with the outcome.
When we insist upon a fourth option (Letting it grow instead of letting it go), that involuntary emotion becomes voluntary sin.
The next time you are angry, which option will you choose? Purpose to resolve your anger before nightfall.