Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Anger, Ephesians 4:25-26
25 So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. 26 Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil.
Paul turns for his case from upright living to the character of upright living. Paul sets this up with a set of contrasts. Paul is describing for us what the renewed mind and new self looks like. We should remember that this is not simply a behavior change: “stop this and do this.” These actions come from the renewing of the mind. As our minds are being taken out of the world and into the word, then we will stop certain behaviors and will participate in other behaviors.
The first behavior to put off is all falsehood. We live in a world full of deception. We cannot be anything like the world, therefore, anything that is not true must be removed from our lives. Truth speaking requires a renewal of the mind. We can become such habitual deceivers and so used to not being honest that it becomes our very nature. We must learn to speak truthfully to each other. Otherwise we will not be able to rely on each other or trust each other.
Be angry but do not sin (4:26) – This text is often used to vindicate “righteous indignation.” But I do not believe that this was what Paul meant. I think the concept is simply that we all experience emotions, which God created within us. The question is what will we do with these emotions? In particular, what will you do with regard to anger? Do not let anger be mixed with sin. You may feel angry, but that does not authorize you to act in a sinful way. Paul tells us we can control our actions from these feelings. Do not act on your impulses because that is acting like the world.
Further, Paul says to not let the sun go down on our anger. Do not allow your anger to simmer. Festering anger leads to bitterness, outbursts, slander, or malice. Anger is dangerous and becomes the foothold to other sins. Sin can destroy your soul and anger will be its tool. Deal with your anger and set it aside. Deal with it calmly. God has given you the power to do so.
Lord, grant me the mindfulness to speak only truth to my neighbor and the strength to turn aside from anger and follow the path of forgiveness and love. Amen.