And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.Ephesians 4:26
When it comes to anger, deal with it immediately. Paul knows that anger wil escalate, grow out of all proportion. Feelings that allow anger to fester and fume need to be nipped in the bud. They need to be dealt with immediately. Notice Paul doesn’t say, “Don’t get angry.” He understands human nature and knows we humans get angry about things. Particularly things we feel passionately about, we will “defend to the death”. Paul doesn’t say naively, “Don’t get angry.” That would kill passion too. Rather he says, “Don’t let anger control you. Don’t let it gain a foothold.” How? Deal with the issue before the sun goes down. Now what does that mean?
Many feel Paul’s reference to the sun going down on anger is taken from the Pythagoreans, who, when there were any differences among themselves, were bound to give some token of reconciliation before the sun set.
The implication being:
- that you can be angry without sinning
- that there is a danger in all cases where there is anger that it will be accompanied with sin.
- that anger will fester if harboured and recalled to mind.
Anger is sinful in the following circumstances:
- When it is sparked without any sufficient cause – when we are in no danger, and do not need it for a protection.
- when it goes beyond the boundaries or necessity of immediate self-protection.
- when it is against “the person” rather than the “offence.” The goal is not to injure another; it is to protect ourselves.
- when it is attended with the desire of “revenge.”
- when it is harboured and heightened by reflection.
- When there is an unforgiving spirit; a determination to exact the utmost satisfaction for the injury done.
There is an allusion to Deut 24:10 it seems to be a proverbial expression; and designed to show that anger should not be continued; that it should not last at most more than a day. When the heat of the day is over, the heat of anger should be over likewise. We should not sleep with it. Isn’t that the truth? How easy it is for us all to brood on things in the wee small hours of the night. At that time the issue can be magnified and our minds run away with our emotions. The time of “the going down of the sun” is the time of evening prayer for the Jews, which may be greatly interrupted and hindered by anger. At the time of prayer is the time to yield anger to the Lord. It is also the time when the day is considered to to begin. So in other words at the beginning of a new day hand over old hurts to the Lord.
- Keep short accounts with Him.
- Do not cherish anger.
- Do not sleep upon it.
- Do not harbour a purpose of revenge.
Do not cherish ill-will against another. “When the sun sets on a man’s anger, he may be sure it is wrong.” The meaning of the whole of this verse then is, “If you be angry, which may be the case, and which may be unavoidable, see that the sudden excitement does not become sin. Do not let it overleap its proper bounds; do not cherish it; do not let it remain in your bosom even to the setting! of the sun.
Though the sun be sinking in the west, let not the passion linger in the bosom, but let his last rays find you always peaceful and calm. [Barnes Commentary]Albert Barnes
The sense is not, Your anger shall not be imputed to you if you put it away before nightfall; but “let no wrath (Greek: personal ‘irritation’ or ‘exasperation’) mingle with your ‘anger,’ even though, the latter be righteous, [Trench, Greek Synonyms of the New Testament]. “Put it away before sunset” (when the Jewish day began), is proverbial for put it away at once before another day begin (Deut 24:15! ) also before you part with your brother for the night, perhaps n ever in this world to meet again. “Let not night and anger against anyone sleep with you, but go and conciliate the other party, though he have been the first to commit the offense.” Let not your “anger” at another’s wickedness verge into hatred, or contempt, or revenge [Vatablus]. [Jamieson Fawcett & Brown’s Commentary]
Life is short, live it; Love is rare, grab it; Anger is bad, dump it; Fear is awful, face it; Memories are sweet, cherish them.Sidney Mohede
A person of integrity (a) Instead of talking, prays about it; (b) Instead of criticising, looks for something good; (c) Instead of showing anger, shows grace.Bob Gass
Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.Mark Twain
The space between expectation and reality is fertile ground for anger. Lower your expectations and see what happens.Max Lucado
He who angers you controls you.Anon