“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath. —Ephesians 4:26
The sound of the alarm blaring from inside the church struck panic in my heart. I had arrived at church early one Sunday morning, planning to spend a little time in peace and quiet before the congregation arrived. But I forgot to disarm the burglar alarm. As I turned the key, the disruptive and annoying blasting of the alarm filled the building—and no doubt the bedrooms of sleeping neighbors.
Anger is a lot like that. In the midst of our peaceful lives, something turns a key in our spirit and triggers the alarm. And our internal peace—not to mention the tranquility of those around us—is interrupted by the disruptive force of our exploding emotions.
Sometimes anger appropriately calls our attention to an injustice that needs to be addressed, and we are spurred to righteous action. Most of the time, however, our anger is selfishly ignited by the violation of our expectations, rights, and privileges. In any case, it’s important to know why the alarm is sounding and to respond in a godly way. But one thing is sure, anger was never intended to continue unchecked.
It’s no wonder that Paul reminds us of the psalmist’s warning: “‘Be angry, and do not sin’; do not let the sun go down on your wrath” (Eph. 4:26; Ps. 4:4).
Spirit of God, please change my heart
And give me a new desire;
Help me to be a man of peace
Who’s not controlled by anger’s fire. —K. De Haan
Anger left unchecked is cause for alarm.