In a new episode of Last Man Standing, Mike Baxter, who is played by Tim Allen, has a scene in which he is imagining having a conversation with his dad who just passed away from a heart attack. As they go back and forth about how they both viewed Mike’s childhood and their relationship as he was growing up, Mike says to his dad, “you never said you loved me.” Mike’s dad reminds him that he never did either. Mike Baxter responds, “I was going to.” It makes me think back to April 15, 1999 when my mom’s best friend was shot to death in the Mormon library in Salt Lake City. At the time, they were in an argument and not talking. I said to my mom a few weeks earlier that they needed to talk it out and make up. My mom said, “we will, don’t worry.” She never got the opportunity to, and I know it ate at her soul.
In Ephesians 4:26-27, Paul writes, “Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.”
Anger is a human emotion God has instilled in us. In and of itself it is not a bad thing, although many falsely teach that all anger is sinful. Jesus got angry (Mark 3:5). In Matthew 21:12, Jesus went into the temple to cleanse it as He confronted the money changers and overturned their tables. These merchants were using the temple as a way to sell their products and they were cheating others out of money. Jesus was angry, but He did not sin. What He did was necessary. They were turning his House into a den of thieves. Jesus dealt with a problem that could not wait. Anger at times is necessary.
Here Paul is telling the Ephesian Christians how to handle anger. Using self-control helps to keep anger under control. He states that we cannot allow anger to remain in us and fester overnight. We need to address the problem right away so it does not turn into an angry outburst later. Satan has a field-day on those who allows anger to fester in them.
The anger that my mom and her best friend felt towards one another was never dealt with. The opportunity for restored friendship died that tragic April day. We may not get the opportunity to make things right tomorrow. We may not be able to tell that person we love, “I love you” because tomorrow may never come. So never let the sun to go down on your anger, it is not worth it. What is worth it, is to let others you love to know you love them everyday. Satan has no opportunity when love abounds in our lives.