When tempers flare, small conflicts can spiral out of control.
It has been said that anger is the natural response to injustice. Yet this God-given emotion must be managed carefully.
Recently, at our local Conflict Mastery Clergy Cluster, my husband, Bud offered a short devotion on Ephesians 4:26-27 (KJV): Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.
He shared “six words of wisdom” on dealing with anger (from the Bible commentator Albert Barnes) and we all felt that the principles, though written many years ago, still resonate!
So I share them with you below.
Barnes says Ephesians 4: 26 – 27 implies two things:
(1) That there may be anger without sin; and,
(2) That there is special danger in all cases where there is anger that it will be accompanied with sin.
Having supplied us with these two insights, he lists for us six circumstances in which anger is sinful:
(1) When it is excited without any sufficient cause.
(2) When it transcends the cause, if any cause really exists.
(3) When it is against "the person" rather than the "offence."
(4) When it is attended with the desire of "revenge." That is always wrong.
(5) When it is cherished and heightened by reflection.
(6) When there is an unforgiving spirit; a determination to exact the utmost satisfaction for the injury which has been done.
Finally, he expounds the meaning of the whole verse:
"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."
This then, is my prayer for myself and you: that we all manage our anger in such a way that we do not allow it to bring us to sin, and that the end of each day finds us peaceful and calm.