Be you angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down on your wrath:
I. ANGER IS A DUTY.
1. It is natural. The man who is never angry is lacking in moral fiber. Christ was sometimes angry (Mark 3:5). God is angry with the wicked (Psalm 7:11).
2. It is just. We cannot rightly rebuke evil without anger. Lies and cruelty should not be treated mildly. Christ would not have been faithful to righteousness if he had not shown indignation in response to hypocrisy.
3. It is useful. We may save a man by first being angry with him. A mild complacency may be the greatest cruelty to a bad man. Even when we cannot rouse the conscience of the guilty by anger we may protect the weak and wronged who claim our first sympathy.
II. ANGER BRINGS A DANGER. It is the most perilous of duties even when it is obligatory.
1. It is in danger of being indulged for our own satisfaction instead of the resistance and checking of moral evil. Personal revenge is likely to usurp the place of righteous indignation.
2. It is in danger of running into excess. It is a passion, and every passion tends to irrational extravagance. The angry man must beware of losing his temper.
III. THE LIMITS OF RIGHTEOUS ANGER SHOULD BE CAREFULLY MARKED.
1. We must avoid the mingling of wicked feelings with necessary anger. While angry with our brother we must not cease to love him. We may be most angry with those we love most. But when anger provokes us to wish harm to any one, it degenerates to hatred and becomes a great sin.
2. We must not cherish anger for long. The mercy of God is everlasting; his wrath is for a season (Psalm 103:9). It is the devil only whose habitual mood is anger. Men may do fearful harm by the sudden ebullition of a hasty temper - harm which may be repented of in vain for long years. Nevertheless, the sullen persistence of ill-feeling for weeks and longer that some people practice is in itself more culpable. It would be well to remember every night that we cannot have God's forgiveness of our sins of the day unless we have first forgiven those who have sinned against us.
3. We must not lose self-control in anger. "Neither give place to the devil."
IV. THE CHRISTIAN SAFEGUARD AGAINST THE ABUSE OF ANGER IS LOVE. NO man can be safely angry with his brother unless he first love him. It is only they that love much who can make a wise use of the furious weapon of anger. If we are "kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other," we shall be able to show righteous anger without lowering ourselves to personal spite. Then our anger will be a pain to us and we shall long to abandon it for more congenial feelings. So shall we be like God, whose wrath is sinless, because he loves his children through all the anger their sin has called forth. - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: