Is it okay for Christians to be angry?
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“Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.”
Ephesians 4:26 English Standard Version
I only had to cross the street to go fishing when I grew up. A slough invited us to cast our bait to catch bluegill and crappie. Our neighbors had a rowboat which we often used to fish the hotspots.
Worms were the bait of choice in those days, and there were plenty of worms at my house. All we had to do was dig through my father’s compost piles to find the slimy creatures. But digging through compost was work. Instead of getting our hands dirty we had this instrument that my grandfather made. It sent an electric current into the compost pile. Like magic, the worms appeared on the surface. (I think the device was illegal.)
Let me state the obvious: Our emotional fuses shorten as the temperature rises. Like the electric current that forced the worms to the top of the compost pile, heat has a way of prompting our anger to the surface.
We often feel guilty when we lose our temper. We say things that shouldn’t come across our lips. We do things that we that we regret and cause damage that’s hard to repair. Then we feel guilty because of an expectation that Christians don’t get angry.
Is it wrong or sinful to be angry?
I wish I could answer with a simple yes or no. I believe there are times when anger is sinful and times when it isn’t. There are times when our anger rises from selfishness and times when it rises because of injustice.
Whether our anger surfaces because of our human condition or because of inequity, Paul’s advice is good. “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.” Deal with your anger quickly before your anger negatively takes control of your behavior.
God was angry with sin, yet he did not destroy the sinner in his anger. Jesus’ death satisfied God’s anger. He didn’t let the sun go down on this world for eternity without satisfying his anger. God isn’t angry with you, because of Jesus.
When your anger rises to the surface, may God empower you with his grace so that the sun does not go down on your anger.
Text and Picture Copyright Douglas P Brauner