The above quote may be recognized by you as coming from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. In chapter 4 verse 26(a), Paul gives the above admonition among quite a few other beneficial comments having to do with interpersonal relationships. The verse has fascinated me on and off but it was always the adjoining phrase in the (b) part of the verse (do not let the sun go down on your anger) that has received most of my attention over the years and has been a guide to my bride and I in our nearly 35 years of marriage, to keep short accounts. I have often just thought, ok if you get angry you better cool off real quick because you will end up doing something really bad. I was never real good at the cooling off real quick part as my family would probably attest.

I started to think about this verse again just recently after the tragic shootings in Tucson. That is because, as I’m sure you are aware, there was a great hue and cry for more civil public discourse and to tone down the anger, as if that had any relation at all to a mentally unbalanced, lone gunmen’s actions. Should Christians never be angry, should Christians always be nice and sweet and never say anything to offend? I do not think those are biblical standards, but rather self imposed and self righteous standards.

I’m not a biblical scholar so I don’t want to get too far into the exegesis of the verse in Ephesians, other than to say, it is striking that the verse seems to be in the form of a command. Be angry. Are we really supposed to be angry as Christians? Doesn’t it say a bit later on in Ephesians that we are supposed to put away “all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander…., along with all malice” (vs. 31)? There are many scriptural admonitions against anger, so I would not try to make a case for being angry on this one verse, but it is interesting to me.

I did a word search on anger in the Bible and was reminded of how many instances there were where God was angry (not necessarily a license for us to be angry) and wondered if we could gain some instruction from Him and what it was that made Him angry. James tells us to be slow to anger, not that we should not be angry. C.S. Lewis, writing about Jesus in the form of Aslan said “Safe?… Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.”

Maybe it isn’t always an admirable trait to never be angry and to always be nice. Maybe all the nattering nabobs of negativity in the press don’t really have any business telling us not to be angry. Maybe there are some things worth getting angry about.

I am angry at the fact that abortion is legal in this country. I am angry that people know an unborn child is a human being, but still insist on aborting that child. I will not be nice in my words about the process. It is killing, it is murder it is barbarous butchery. I am angry about this.

I am angry that the federal government takes my tax dollars and spends it on fetal stem cell research that has no efficacious use and starves the researchers in adult stem cell research who are showing dozens of practical uses for their work. It does make me angry because cures that are there to be had are being ignored and people will suffer and die because of it. That may not be nice to say, but it is true.

I am also angry at the lies of Al Gore and the global warming alarmists in the face of so much evidence to the contrary, because they advocate turning away from so many modern conveniences that make life better and this will harm the poorest citizens on the planet. This does make me angry because a hoax is being perpetrated.

I am angry that in the face of such a tragedy as we have seen in Tucson, that we have a whole bunch of folks in the press and in the political arena, sadly our President among them, that want to take the opportunity to posture, to brow beat and to capitalize on the dead instead of truly grieving with the families of the deceased and the community that has had a gaping hole ripped in it. This makes me angry and I will not be nice in my phraseology. This is exploitation. While preaching tolerance last night out of one side of his mouth, the other side of his mouth has continually demonized his political opposition for the last 24 months. This is the height of hypocrisy. Those may not be nice words, but they are the truth and it does make me angry.

There are many other injustices in this world that make me angry and I would not be nice when I describe them, but that would be to “speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.” Eph 4:25.

That was the angry part. How about the do not sin part? Well, I do not hate as a result of my anger, I am not bitter, there is no rage and I have not slandered. I think I am on my way, but pray for me and more importantly, pray for what makes you angry. Jesus is the only answer and He is going to work through us. Our prayers change us as much as the situation and we are able to carry the light of Jesus more effectively into the arena of ideas.