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]
When people do wrong or behave badly the natural response is to be angry, and that is okay…! Jesus was often angry with those who claimed to know God and took advantage of others. Nothing angered Jesus more than hypocritical religious leaders. But rather than allowing anger to fester inside of him, Jesus poured his life out for the very people who hated and killed him.
Anger is often rooted in our own insecurities and pride – a symptom of our brokenness rather than the result of the wrongs of others. That’s why the Bible tells us over and over again to be “slow to anger” [Prov 19:11; Jas 1:19-20]. God’s Word in Eph 4:26-27 makes it clear that anger in itself is not a sin. It’s when we allow anger to burn and seethe within us for days, weeks, months, and sometimes years, we allow the enemy to gain a foothold in our lives and rob us of the full life God wants us to have in Christ.
The Bible clearly commands us to forgive others. Offering forgiveness to others is one of the most difficult, yet vital expectations of believers called to live by the Holy Spirit. Jesus asks you to lay down your rights and pride to pursue a higher calling of unconditional love. He asks you to show grace and offer mercy where none is deserved. When we do so we reflect the image of our heavenly Father who …doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve, nor pay us back in full for our wrongs [Psa 103:10, MSG].
God has created us to enjoy fellowship with one another, to have our hearts open and full of love for one another, free from bitterness and resentment. He wants to guide us to a lifestyle of forgiveness so we can experience fullness of joy that is every believer’s birth-right in Christ.