Be angry, and do not sin;
do not let the sun go down on your wrath.
– Ephesians 4:26
Few things are more destructive to Christians than anger. Anger causes us to lose our self-control and to say and do things we would otherwise never consider. Anger, if allowed to remain, turns into bitterness that eats away at our hearts. Scripture consistently commands believers to put away anger and lists it as one of the sins of the flesh (Eph. 4:31).
At times, we try to defend our anger by citing Ephesians 4:26. As additional proof we argue that Jesus cleansed the temple in “righteous indignation.” Ephesians refers to anger that does not lead to sin. Jesus was capable of being angry without sinning. When Jesus cleared the temple, Scripture does not indicate that He was angry (Matt. 21:12–14; Mark 11:15–18; Luke 19:45–46).
We must be careful not to justify our anger with Scripture. Ephesians 4:31 commands us to put away all anger. That does not mean that we cease to have strong convictions or lose our desire for justice. It does mean we refuse to allow the sins of others to cause us to sin. Anger does not bring about God’s redemptive work; far more often it hinders what God is working to accomplish.
If you feel that you have a righteous anger because of something that has happened, see if you are holding anger in your heart without sin. Is your anger turning into bitterness? Is your anger causing you to speak in an unchristian manner to someone or to gossip about them? Is your anger causing you to make excuses for your own ungodly behavior? Is your anger preventing you from acting in a loving, redemptive, and Christlike way toward someone? You must examine any anger within you and allow God to remove any sinful attitudes that your anger may have produced.
Excerpts republished with permission from Experiencing God Day by Day by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby c. 1997 B&H Publishing Group.