Ephesians 4:26 Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.
God has made it clear that He doesn’t want us to act in anger. Instead, He wants us to act in righteousness, just as He is righteous. He wants us to follow the example set by our Lord Jesus Christ. No one person who has ever lied has so exemplified temperament. Insulted, spat upon. mocked – and that was all before He was tried and hung on a cross – and yet this Man did not act out in anger. How can this be? How was Jesus able to be angry and not sin? And what’s more; how can we follow this example?
Jesus had inside knowledge. He was in on the Father’s ways. You see, Jesus understood that all acting out of anger accomplishes is more anger. He knew that there was no situation so big that God would not handle it. He also understood the importance of relationships.
It’s just not worth it to act out of anger. It’s not worth hurt relationships and it’s not worth showing a bad example of a Christ follower to those who may have their eyes on us. If we trust God, we can let Him be the administrator of justice. We can believe that He will take care of the situation that caused us anger in the first place.
1 Corinithians 13:5 [Love] is not irritable.
Love is patient. So why reiterate the same basic point by saying that love is not easily angered (or irritable)? Quite simply, because it’s that much of an issue. It’s that important because we have to really be conscious of this in order to be effective at loving other people.
With Jesus as our example, take a look at how He reacted to the sometimes whiny, often very hard-headed disciples with whom He spent a great deal of His time. Be honest, most of us, were we in Jesus’ place, would have gotten angry very early on with some of the things He put up with. But because He loved them, He showed them patience and kindness. He answered their silly questions and taught them lessons to help them grow more mature. He had compassion for them.
The only way to really have this kind of compassion for someone is to have some empathy – try to feel what they’re feeling. Most of the time if you can empathize, anger is not going to flare up quite so easily. It’s really not about controlling anger, it’s about considering others.
Ephesians 4:26-27 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.
There are few things our enemy the devil hates more than a unified body of believers in Jesus Christ. He can’t stand to see God working through people who love one another and bear each other’s burdens. His strategy is to divide us.
We’ve all been to churches where there’s disunity. Maybe someone didn’t like the choice of colors for the new carpet or maybe someone got upset because the coffee pot was moved to another location. Whatever the reason, people get angry with their fellow Christians and they begin to miss out on the mission God has for them. That’s exactly what the enemy wants.
But when we forgive offenses that our brothers and sisters in the Lord commit, we offer him no ammunition to use against us. When we put away our anger and instead choose love, we don’t allow him a way in. When we value people and relationships more than things, we take away something from the enemy’s arsenal. We leave him weak.
When we choose to love, it honors God and brings Him glory. That should be our ultimate incentive for treating others well and acting in unity as a church of believers.