Sunday, February 5, 2012

Be Angy! Just Don't Sin!

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.  ( Eph. 4:26-27)

Many of us are familiar with this passage from Paul’s letter to the Church in Ephesus. He is reminding the young church they are not to act like the Gentiles whose behavior does not glorify God. As Christians, we are to put away greediness, thievery and lying. And so Paul admonishes his spiritual children with a quote from Psalm 4, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,” but adding to it his own words, “and give no opportunity to the devil.”

When we are angry, it is usually because we are reacting to something out of our control. Anger really is a secondary emotion resulting from frustration, disappointment or some other feeling. When Cain was jealous of his brother Abel because his sacrifice found favor with God, he became angry. And sin was crouching at the door. Even after God warned Cain to master his feelings, he succumbed to them committing the first murder. So how are we to interpret Paul’s use of Psalm 4?

St, Paul probably was reminding the early Christians what the Psalmist already knew and that is God is control. A portion of the Psalm states:

But know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself;
the LORD hears when I call to him.
4 Be angry, and do not sin;
ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent.
5 Offer right sacrifices,
and put your trust in the LORD.

As true Christians, we are set apart for God. We are in His care. When something makes us angry, as we lie in bed, think about what it really is that makes us angry but make no plans to act on it. Ultimately our trust is in God as He is in control. After all, when we are angry, it’s usually because we want to control our world. But we must give up our control and let God have his rule in our lives. It is with this confidence that David could pray, “In peace I will both lie down and sleep;  for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.”