By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
The Bible is full of passages warning about the danger of allowing yourself to be angered. Even verses that are used to justify anger, fall short of a full endorsement.
Ephesians 4:26-27 (ESV): Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger and give no opportunity to the devil.
In his letter to the church in Ephesus, the apostle Paul warns Christians to be on guard because anger can lead to sin. To help them avoid sinning when they are angry, Paul gives them a couple of good rules to live by. He tells them that they should not allow the sun to go down on their anger. This means the issue and their anger should die with the sunset. This ties in well with Paul’s expectation that Christian’s should bear one another’s burden and not keep records of wrongdoing (1 Corinthians 13:5-6).
Proverbs 19:11 (ESV): Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.
It is a person’s glory from God to overlook the offense of another. There is a saying that we seek “justice” when something is done against us and we want “mercy” when we do something to another. By setting the expectation that the sun should not go down on our anger, Paul is implying that the issue should not continue to be brought up. The word for anger in Ephesians 4:26 could also be translated as irritation, indignation, or exasperation; meaning we should not continue to be frustrated or bothered by the actions of another.
Ecclesiastes 7:9 (ESV): Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the bosom of fools.
Psalm 37:8 (ESV): Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
You will notice that throughout Scripture, those who are angry are often compared to those who are fools or evil. While there is the example of Jesus being angered by the hardening of the hearts of those he was speaking to, Jesus did not have any ill-will with whom he was angered (Mark 3:5). The verse continues and says that Jesus was grieved (could also be translated as: felt great sympathy) by their stubbornness, meaning He wanted better for them… not himself. Oftentimes, anger is a sign of selfishness and shows an arrogant or prideful heart. That is why Paul ends his warning about anger by telling the church to give no opportunity to the devil. For in the manner in which we forgive others, that is the manner in which our Father will forgive us. We should not be angry for personal reasons and we definitely should not harbor ill-will. We should be willing to forgive and accept the glory that God promises for those who are willing to overlook the offense of another.