“BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger” Ephesians 4:26
Angry – How did you sleep? Did you give away that anger as your gift to God? It wasn’t easy to do, but you discovered that you could do it. And then rest.
But this verse still might seem confusing. Paul quotes Psalm 4 to set the stage for his exhortation about anger. The Greek verb he uses is orgizo. It implies provoking yourself to action. The thought behind the Hebrew word is a strong emotional reaction to something that is deeply planted in you. Some scholars believe that the verse makes more sense translated as “Do not sin when you get angry”. That’s tough to do. That would imply that you will get angry, but you have a responsibility to not let anger get control of you. Do you remember the story of Cain and Abel? God said to Cain, “Sin is sleeping at your doorstep but you must learn to master it.” Cain didn’t listen to God. His anger took over.
This verse could be taken as “Get mad about the destructive nature of sin and do something about it.” Then the term would be seen as righteous anger – the kind of anger that God has about sin. It would mean, “Share God’s view of sin. See how terrible it is, how much it seeks to destroy you. Get that firmly in mind and then don’t give any room for sin to operate.” That seems to capture the thought in Psalms where David uses a word that means, “to tremble and shake”.
Next time you watch the news, put yourself in the place of the victims of violence. Feel their pain and chaos. Imagine their future. Let their terrorized lives sweep over you. Once you have cried tears of compassion, notice your other deep emotion. It is the same emotion that Jesus had standing in front of the tomb of Lazarus. Anger! Anger that God’s world has been so damaged by this evil force. Anger that God’s people are maimed and hurt and killed by sinful actions. Anger that the world God created perfect has been so distorted that He has decided to start new. Then you will know a little about orgizo, a word associated with God’s wrath.
Rouse up emotion about sin! Look at the world from God’s perspective. Compassion has another side. Anger.