Ephesians 4:26-27 “Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.”
At 9:01 AM he walked in the door and tension, like a biting wind, whooshed in behind him. My empty mug was ready for its morning cup of coffee. He was expecting his check, but I had been out of the office the day before and had not had time to listen to his telephone message. This was not a problem as I could quickly prepare the check, but he was not willing to wait for even a minute.
He shot belittling words my way, and I felt my frame stiffen. “How could I have possibly known he was coming when I had just walked in the door myself?” Bitter words rose to my lips, but I was able to catch them before they escaped. I took a deep breath.
Ignoring the increasing strain I offered him a cup of coffee while he waited and I set about my task. Finally, he stormed out through the door, check in hand. But the tension stayed. My whole day was on the verge of ruin practically before it got started!
Anger is a natural human response to an injustice. Throughout the Bible we read of times when God becomes angry. We are made in the image of God, so it stands to reason that we would experience the emotion of anger also. The difference is that God is always righteous and just. We are not. In our sinful state we often allow this emotional response to go beyond what it should.
In Ephesians 4:26-27 God warns us about the danger of holding onto anger. The Holy Spirit, through the pen of the Apostle Paul, guides us to release our anger before the sun goes down. This may mean having a conversation with someone who has offended us. We may bring our concerns before the Lord in prayer and wrestle for freedom from our indignation and its affects. Not dealing properly with anger provides the devil an opportunity to do us great damage.
My irate client did me an injustice by taking out his frustration on me when it was neither warranted nor necessary. His inconsiderate behavior affected my whole being, both physically and emotionally. But I had a choice to make. By holding onto my anger I would allow him to control the rest of my day. Wild replays of the whole scenario and imagining smart and sassy retorts would only escalate my emotions and lead to wrong behavior. So I took a deep breath and said a little prayer as I waited for my pulse to slow. “Lord, help me to forgive and move forward with your blessing!”
Suddenly the air lightened. I glanced at the empty coffee mug and a bit of sadness for this impatient man who almost ruined my day replaced my angst. I had a right to be angry, but the sun was still shining and I was called to forgive. Waking from my reverie I calmly turned back to my tasks at hand, but not before I whispered, “Sorry, Devil! There will be no opportunity for you to win today!”