“Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger and do not make room for the devil.” Ephesians 4:26-27
For a while, I have been struggling with righteous anger. I have been working to find a way to express my feelings, and to use my frustration to work for better, and just as importantly, not to get swallowed up by the same meanness, even evil, that I am angry about. So, what can I do? Where better to turn than the Bible for an answer?
I believe I am feeling righteous indignation, not out of pride, or greed, but out of a God-like concern for how others are being treated. From what I can read, righteous anger is consistent with the character of God and also with legal anger (based on the violation of God’s law). It is not explosive but only slowly provoked; and is always under control.
If I turn to Paul, and King David, I can learn how I might try to keep myself from “making room for the devil in my anger.” When I can’t go directly to the person/situation to let my thoughts and feelings known, I must pray and pray hard. I know that God hears the prayers of his people and responds. I don’t know how, or when God will respond, but I will trust that he hears my prayers and the prayers of others. And I know that God loves me and has plans for all of us to prosper. I also know that it is not my job to render judgment. That is reserved for God.
This struggle is worth a lot of effort, as it has the power to steal my peace, joy, hope and rest. When I feel betrayed by people, I know that God is where my peace and trust belong. I will continue to feel anger, I can’t wish it away. And I will continue to look for ways to change what is within my power to change. But I will also continue to lay my unrest down, to turn it over to God, and to wait upon God in faith and trust, knowing that the “peace that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4) will find its way into my soul. Thanks be to God!