Ephesians 4:26, 27 says, “In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”
“In your anger do not sin.” That’s a tough one. Our anger causes us to react in a way that is often contrary to our normal personality. We often sin without thinking in a state of anger.
I find myself spewing words at my husband that sound as though some little demon has taken over my body. It literally catches me off guard at times, and I am shocked at my reaction. I hate when that happens. Those times have become much fewer as I’ve become older and wiser. (Once I get through this hormonal rollercoaster ride I hope to breeze through life with even less little demon outbursts.)
It is impossible to take back words that we have carelessly thrown at someone. Our anger causes us to not think before we speak. We only want to defend ourselves when someone offends us. The battle begins and all the rational words go out the window. Don’t let your anger rise to that point. Walk away. Call a time out. Go to your room.
What I’ve discovered that works for me is to not do anything when I get angry. I wait to speak until I’ve calmed down (not always successful, though). I try not to act out of revenge or hurt. We have to recognize our anger and learn what works best to settle it down. Anger can lead to sin with our deadly words and our careless actions for revenge.
“Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry”. That has been a huge rule that Rick and I strive to follow. If you go to bed angry, you usually don’t sleep well. When you don’t sleep well, you usually wake up tired and less able to deal with the anger that still stirs in your soul. Then you have the whole day ahead of you to struggle through the anger.
Nothing good can come out of going to bed angry. There may be times, though, that you may not completely resolve the issue that has made you angry. It’s okay to sleep on it if you have worked through the anger. We often need to think things through. Sometimes a good night’s sleep will make our thoughts clearer the next day and a solution easier to find.
“Do not give the devil a foothold.” A foothold is defined as “A firm base for progress: a secure starting position from which further advances can be made.”
While the devil can place thoughts in our heads, he can’t read our thoughts and doesn’t know what we choose to dwell on and think about. Our words, though, are a dead giveaway to him for what runs through our heads. He uses our words skillfully to build his defense against us and magnify issues with which we may be dealing.
That is why it is so important to watch carefully what you say, especially when you are angry. The devil will use it against you. He learns your vulnerabilities and weak areas where he’s eager to attack - all from the words you say and the actions they become.