“Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger” Ephesians 4:26
THE EMOTIONS OF GOD.
Isn’t it interesting, the word used here for ‘anger’ is literally translated from the word for anger. The Greek word ‘ὀργίζω’ means to be irritated, provoked, or moved with anger. However we seem to shun this emotion with the deepest of wrongs. The actual reality is there are numerous emotions which the Christian today thinks they need to avoid, when scripture doesn’t even rule against them. Why is that, is the actual question therefore?
Focusing on our proof text, we need to understand anger and what it means to express it in its proper context. And to clear the stage, this is not permission to run around angry either. Firstly we need to know God is completely against sin full stop end of story. God is holy and His ways are perfect. These are fundamental principles which we must work from. Yet scripture reveals a God whose anger was often stirred against persistent sin, even resulting in Him destroying or desiring to destroy his own people! So how do we make sense of that!? Here is where we need to discover what the righteousness of God entails and how we can identify that. God is always right, and let every human be called a liar. GOD’S WORD® (English translation) translates Ephesians 4:26 is a more dense light and I think it helps, as follows, “Be angry without sinning. Don’t go to bed angry.” So be angry, but do so without getting into anything sinful. Let’s keep going because we got to know what constitutes sin in this regard – how being angry is not bad, but it is warned against turning into sin.
So let’s ask the questions why is acknowledging/being angry important, and why does God Himself do it? Let’s look at a definition of anger found in the Strong’s concordance:
“Sinful (unnecessary) anger” focuses on punishing the offender rather than the moral content of the offense.” [see, 3710 [e], “anger“, Strong’s Concordance]
It is not your job to punish the offender, but it is your job to raise the offense and be angry toward an offence. The offense is the reason behind why someone may be angry. You are not sinning when it is about an issue, but you are sinning when you personally attack the offender, the person.
For example, if we find a child crying because someone mistreated them we don’t simply pretend it never happened. No, but we find out who it was and address them. It is the same for an offense. It is not some virtual or hypothetical situation, but you were left feeling wronged. These need addressing. When the bible says – be angry, but do not sin – it means shine a light on the offense not the offender. If the offender however will not hear you out (repent, or say sorry) the light actually does shift onto them according to teachings of Christ. Jesus actually shares that in such a situation of ongoing denial to eventually consider that person a “Gentile” – aka a sinner (Matt18:15). However focusing on the instance once again, we see this is the very reason we are warned to protect ourselves from bitterness. We need to sort these things out early in our relationships. It can begin to cause a lot of problems down the track if we don’t (“be careful that no root of bitterness spring up” – Heb12:15). Jesus goes on to explain how we should approach someone who has offended you:
“If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, 4and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” Luke 17:3-4
If your brother does not repent there is no forgiveness. It’s that simple. Leave that person to God, because God says He will not ignore those wrongs in Heaven (Romans 12:19). But if he/she hears you out, that’s awesome news, because now you’ve won your brother/sister – and I personally believe a much stronger relationship! 🙂 Being angry at an offence, is completely fine and it is actually healthy. This is not the evil. Sin is the evil. And so long as your upset is focused on the offense, you are still within the parameters of God’s grace.
Sin or Offense, which one is it?
The reason we can speak of both sin and offense in the same sentence, is because they are actually interchangeable in their meaning. They mean the same thing. Sin is an offense against God. This is the reason why love is so necessary in walking a life with God. We accept His correction as love don’t we? This is because He desires to remain in relationship with us. If He didn’t care He could quite easily move on, however He labors. This is love! 🙂 It’s how we got saved in the first place – we said sorry, and He forgave us. We’re now in right relationship. This is the same for our human relationships. To love our neighbor is to talk, and anger is not the evil, the offense is. Love rejoices in the truth does it not? (1 Corinthians 13:6)
Even God in His anger and frustration did something about it He sent His Son. To pay the price for our offense. The truth is we’re still human and capable of offending, even towards God, but He still corrects those He loves. This is the reason Jesus say’s in the above passage even if a brother comes to you seven times and repents, we must forgive him every time. Emotion to the offense is not a sin, but toward the offender is. Therefore keep your emotion, and speak from the heart in the hope of restoring your relationship.
God’s richest blessings upon you all in Jesus Christ name, QSP.