Anger Series: Part 6 – A Biblical View and Understanding
Two Primary Bible Passages
“Be angry and yet do not sin, do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the
devil an opportunity.” Ephesians 4:26
“… the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” James 1:20
These are the two primary passages used to understand and deal with anger in a TPM context. From these passages several principles are gleamed and applied.
1. We have been given permission to be angry. “Be angry…”
Anger is a God-created response to injustice. When we see injustice we should feel angry. God Himself is angered by injustice. Most of the anger that we experience is initially established in the context of an injustice; such as when a child is being violated and feels angry because of it. However, this same anger later becomes a cancer that can destroy us if it is not rightly dealt with.
2. We have been instructed not to sin in our anger. “… and yet do not sin…” Although we are created with the capacity to feel angry in the midst of an injustice, we are not equipped to reside in it for long. Anger is a powerful force that typically results in our acting out inappropriately. We can be angry, but it is not good that we carry it around for too long a time. We tend to sin in our anger more than act out righteously.
3. We have been instructed not to hold on to it for too long. “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.” If we continue to hold it after the “sun has gone down” we will become susceptible to the deception of the enemy. Satan wants us to hold onto the anger because he knows that if we carry it for very long, we will sin. Anger sustained is a sin just waiting to happen.
4. If we hold on to the anger we afford the devil an opportunity. “you will give the devil opportunity…” The opportunity he desires is to provide us a lie-based reason for why we need to hold onto the anger. Lies such as, “Your anger will keep you safe or protect you.” “Your anger holds the person who hurt you accountable and keeps them from getting by with what they did.” Your anger keeps you in control.” “Your anger punishes those who hurt you.” Etc. Once we embrace any of these lies, we will not be able to let the anger go apart from God’s intervention. These lies provide us a rational and logical reason for staying angry. For example, why would I let my anger go if I believed that it keeps me safe and it holds the one who hurt me accountable? This is exactly what the devil wants; for us to believe a lie and make poor choices because of it.
5. Belief Keeps the Person Holding Onto His Anger. If I embrace the lie afforded me by the devil in my anger, it becomes glue in my hand making it literally impossible for me to let go apart from God’s intervention. After the “sun goes down” the anger is no longer about what happened, but now is about what might happen if the anger is released. Because I have embraced these – “what might happen” beliefs, my letting go of the anger becomes highly unlikely because for me to let go of it will require I go against that which I believe.
6. Our anger does not accomplish God’s purposes. Even if we are angry and are able not to sin in it, our anger will not accomplish God’s best or intended purpose for our lives. James the apostle is clear where he said, “the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” James 1:20