Dec 2nd, 2018
Hello and welcome to season 2 episode 2 of The Berean Manifesto, brought to you by The Ekklesian House. This is Pastor Bill and over the next 10 minutes or so we’re going to take a look at anger.
Ephesians 4:26-27 says, “Be angry and do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, and don’t give the devil an opportunity.” This is an interesting bit of scripture given all the times the bible tells us not to have anger. Including a few verses later in Ephesians 4:31, “Let all bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander be removed from you, along with all malice.” Joining that are; James 1:20 that tells us that human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness, Galatians 5:20 that tells us outbursts of anger are the clear work of the flesh, 1 Timothy 2:8 that tells us to pray without anger, and Ecclesiastes 7:9 that tells us not to rush to be angry because anger lives in the hearts of fools. For more references, you can pretty much read the book of Psalms and Proverbs. There’s a lot there, and this is by no means an exhaustive list here.
So how do we reconcile when we find seemingly clear contradictions in scripture?
First, you need to pray for insight and wisdom. I mean heck, you’ve got the ear of the creator of the universe through prayer and sometimes we make that our last resort. Let’s realign that thinking.
Second, we have to look at context; in Ephesians 4 Paul is talking about how the believers in the church should be treating each other. In this context, it seems like Paul is saying, “If you get mad at a fellow Christian, it’s all good, we’re all human. But, the devil would like nothing more than to find a foothold to separate us. So you gotta chill, and take care of that mess before sundown. Don’t take that baggage into the next day.”
If we’re satisfied at that point, we can ask someone, look up a commentary entry, or compare the original language. In Ephesians 4:26 when Paul says, “Be angry,” it’s the word:
G3710 ὀργίζω orgizō or-gid'-zo From G3709; to provoke or enrage, that is, (passively) become exasperated: - be angry (wroth).
It would seem the original language supports the beginning of our in context take of this verse that it’s OK to be provoked to rage, it’s OK to get angry.
And the wrath that you shouldn’t let the sun go down on is the word:
G3950 παροργισμός parorgismos par-org-is-mos' From G3949; rage: - wrath.
So, what are the words used in Ephesians 4:31 for anger and wrath that we are supposed to have removed from us? And what does that even mean, “removed from us?” In the King James it says, “be put away,” in the original, this is the word:
G142 αἴρω airō ah'ee-ro A primary verb; to lift; by implication to take up or away; figuratively to raise (the voice), keep in suspense (the mind); specifically to sail away (that is, weigh anchor); by Hebraism (compare [H5375]) to expiate sin: - away with, bear (up), carry, lift up, loose, make to doubt, put away, remove, take (away, up).
In season 1 episode 99 we read through Hebrews 11 and at The Ekklesian House Fellowship I took everyone through to the root of the word “please” in Hebrews 11:6, “For without faith it is impossible to please God.” When you drill down to the very root of the idea of the word used for please there you come up with this word Paul uses here in Ephesians 4:31, ah’ee-ro. Now when God ah’ee-ro’s, if you can even say it that way, the ground shakes, the sky turns dark, and the dead rise from their grave and walk around for a while. For you and I, this word seems to take on a whole different meaning. One of offering up or giving up ownership. The idea of pulling up the anchor from those things that it’s embedded in at the bottom of the ocean and sailing away, leaving them behind. In Christian circles, we talk about mercy and grace. This is a beautiful look at grace. It’s OK to get angry, we’re all human, but the enemy has a plan to use anger and wrath to separate us. So the best thing we can do is to pull up anchor and put some distance between us and our anger to create some grace so that we’re not so easily angered.
This same concept applies to the other things we read about in Ephesians 4:31; bitterness, anger, wrath, shouting, slander, and malice. We don’t have to be held down or back by these things. We can pull up anchor and sail away from them. Create grace between us and bitterness so we can forgive, create grace between us and anger so we can let go, create grace between us and wrath so we can move on, create grace between us and shouting so we can be seen as credible when we talk, create grace between us and slander so we don’t tear others down when they need to be lifted up, and create grace between us and malice so we can be the hero instead of the villain. I don’t know about you, but when I die I want people to look back at my life and remember me as a hero. A hero who forgave when I had every reason not to, who let things go when I really could’ve stuck to somebody, who put their money where their mouth was when loving others was concerned, who moved forward instead of looking back, who gave others the benefit of the doubt when they didn’t deserve it, who lifted them up when they were down, someone who loved others when they felt unloved.
Cut yourself some slack, be human. And when you’re ready to be better, be better. Lift up that anchor and create some grace between you and the things in your character that are more malice than ah’ee-ro. Walk away from the things that make you more villain than a hero.
This is Pastor Bill saying, “Until next time…”