Ephesians 4:25-26 - Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil …

Ephesians 4:31-32 - Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Ephesians 4:25-31 has always been interesting to me because in verse 26 it says, “Be angry and do not sin” and then in verse 31 it says, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger… be put away from you.” Seems to be a bit confusing, but the concept of anger is used differently in different contexts. The first context is anger when someone is being led astray by falsehood and ignorance, the second context is a wrathful anger layered with bitterness and malice.

When Paul is saying to be angry, he is saying that we should be angry but not to commit sin in our anger. Our anger is directed toward seeing our Christian neighbors fall into a sinful lifestyle and embracing the old life rather than the new life that is found in Christ. It is anger toward impurity, and yet it is this anger that must be quelled by bedtime. Truly, we are called to be angry about sin, but it should not consume us.

Our anger is not meant to be directed toward a person. This is perhaps the clear marker of when we stray into sin when we are angry. We commit sin in anger if our anger leads us to cast judgment and wrath toward any individual. The phrase “hate the sin, love the sinner” is hard one to fully apply to life, and perhaps should be changed to say “be angry about sin, but don’t be angry with anyone.” As Christians, we are to focus more on loving our neighbor than trying to enforce proper behavior.

Sin should make you angry. Sin is the brokenness of the world and it would be wrong to be happy (or even indifferent) about sin. Sin should cause us to get riled up and move into action. But this action is love. When we get angry with sin, our response is to get fierce in our love.

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