“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil” (Ephesians 4:26-27).
Some drugs are so powerful there is a small quantitative difference between the size of a beneficial, therapeutic dose and a fatal overdose. Therefore, it is imperative the prescription for such drugs is written clearly, filled precisely, and then administered exactly as written.
Your capacity for wrath and indignation is akin to such potent drugs. Being made in the image and likeness of God, you are innately capable of becoming angry. This ability is not inherently evil or sinful. When and how your anger is dispensed determines whether it is righteous or unrighteous indignation.
Because you are a new creature in the One who cleansed the temple twice (John 2:13-17; Matthew 21:12-13) and yet did so without sinning (1 Peter 2:22), you must put off selfish, sustained anger provoked by personal slights or petty irritations. Such anger leads to sinful thoughts, words, attitudes, and deeds.
Instead, you are to express your righteous indignation exactly as it is written by the Great Physician. This means:
- You are to be offended by those things which profane and pervert the sacred. “Be angry” is commanded, not suggested, in verse 26.
- You are not to be hasty to become angry. “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath” (James 1:19).
- You are not to express your indignation in a sinful way. “…and do not sin…” permits no out of control conduct—no profanity, no violence, nor any other type of ungodly behavior.
- You are to make the duration of anger short. “Do not let the sun go down on your wrath.” Anger can quickly degenerate into bitterness and vengeance. It can also lead to the spiritual cancer called hostility. You do not keep it around for long because the devil will exploit it to your spiritual demise.
Your capacity for righteous indignation can easily be subverted into ungodly anger, so carefully read and precisely follow the Great Physician’s prescription for it.