As far back as I can remember, after my sister and I would fight as kids, my Mom would tell us that we were not allowed to go to bed angry at one another. Apparently, her Dad had told her and her siblings the same thing when they were kids, and now as a parent, my Mom was passing along those same words of wisdom to us. Currently, as a parent, I too, encourage my daughter to release anger and to not carry it into tomorrow. God wants us to release anger immediately to Him, as anger is not of or from God, and if we hold onto it, it will breed far worse consequences then what the present moment contains.
I’m not sure if my grandfather knew that what he was passing along to his children, and to the next generations, was the Truth that the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus. But, in our passage today, we learn that exact Truth from Paul as he urges the entire church, past, present, and future, to stop being angry, “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.” (v. 26-27).
Paul goes on to urge us, as the children of God, to not be thieves, to not use foul or abusive language, and to not bring sorrow to God by how we live. You might say that you don’t do any of these things; and maybe you don’t, but when you compare your words, actions, inactions, thoughts, and the deepest places of your heart from just yesterday, are you able to say that you walked, talked, thought, and acted exactly as Jesus? I can honestly tell you that my yesterday would not have been Jesus’s yesterday. So, what do we do in this case?
Well, Paul goes on to tell us that we are to “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.” (v. 31) We must remember that anything that is not of God, is of Satan, who is evil. Sin is evil! So, when our words, actions, inactions, thoughts, and hearts are sinful…we are in a place of evil behavior and we must turn back to Jesus, repent, and move forward by living out His Truth. Paul continues by telling us to “Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” (v. 32)
Ephesians 4:25-32 (NLT)
25 So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. 26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil.
28 If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. 29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
Prayer: Jesus, thank You for Your tender heart and for Your sacrifice that allows for our sins to be forgiven. Give us Your heart, Lord, for others, so that we can be more and more like You each day. Help us to release anger and our sins to You, so that we can be more forgiving and have a kinder heart. We love You, Jesus, and ask all of this in Your Name. Amen.