25 Therefore, after you have gotten rid of lying, Each of you must tell the truth to your neighbor[b] because we are parts of each other in the same body. 26 Be angry without sinning.[c] Don’t let the sun set on your anger. 27 Don’t provide an opportunity for the devil. 28 Thieves should no longer steal. Instead, they should go to work, using their hands to do good so that they will have something to share with whoever is in need.
29 Don’t let any foul words come out of your mouth. Only say what is helpful when it is needed for building up the community so that it benefits those who hear what you say. 30 Don’t make the Holy Spirit of God unhappy—you were sealed by him for the day of redemption. 31 Put aside all bitterness, losing your temper, anger, shouting, and slander, along with every other evil. 32 Be kind, compassionate, and forgiving to each other, in the same way God forgave you in Christ.
Anger is like poison, hurting everyone involved. Everyone gets angry, but not everyone has the self control to manage their anger. Hold your anger in, and it hardens your heart, always seething below the surface. If let your anger explode, then there will be causalities, both intended and unintended victims of your rage. So what are we to do with our anger, in an age when everyone seems angry about everything?
Paul, in writing to the new Ephesian church, doesn’t say, ‘don’t get angry.’ Yet many people mistake anger as a bad trait, to be suppressed. But getting angry about the causes of injustice, hunger, racism, and violence will lead us to show God’s love by working to end injustice to achieve change. What Paul wants us to understand is, if our anger leads us to sin, to deliberately seek to hurt and demean others, then we’ve strayed off the path Jesus asks us to walk, and created an opportunity for evil to use both ourselves and our anger.
And we do use our anger against others to hurt them. Paul mentions that when we’re angry we will tell lies, use foul words to denigrate others, use bitterness, shouting and slander to inflict harm. All these sins come from uncontrolled anger that makes God’s Spirit unhappy with our behavior, and makes reconciliation with others impossible. Nursing our anger overnight will consume us. So Paul says not to “let the sun set on our anger,” because with each day that
passes, reconciliation becomes harder and harder to achieve, as wounds grow into scars.
The antidote to anger is extending loving kindness to others that then lays the foundation for the work of reconciliation to begin with those we have hurt. The path of reconciliation is the work of the Spirit in us all through our lifetime. Treating others with loving kindness, compassion and forgiveness, as Christ has treated us, helps us to control our harmful anger and to work towards reconciliation in our relationship and our church communities.
by Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
Do you struggle with controlling your unjust anger against others? God will heal us of the poison of unjust anger when we take our pain to God in prayer. We can put our trust in God to lead us to forgiveness, loving kindness and reconciliation.
Prayer: Holy and Loving God, we struggle with unjust anger each day. Lead us to forgiveness and reconciliation towards others, as you have shown to us. Amen.