10/31: Danger of the Setting Sun
When we think of the sunset, most of the time our thoughts turn to beautiful colors of orange, red, and yellow. Perhaps you picture the sun setting over water, where you get twice the joy as the reflection mirrors God’s handiwork. But the Bible warns us of a danger of the setting sun. Ephesians 4:26-27 says, “Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil” (NKJ). I recently came to understand the full implications of how and why what should be this marvelous spectacle known as sunset, turns into a dangerous event when we allow it to happen while we harbor anger. Matthew Henry’s Commentary explains:
- One great and common sin in anger is to suffer it to burn into wrath, and then to let it rest… If you have been provoked and have had your spirits greatly discomposed, and if you have bitterly resented any affront that has been offered, before night calm and quiet your spirits, be reconciled to the offender, and let all be well again: Let not the sun go down upon your wrath. If it burn into wrath and bitterness of spirit, O see to it that you suppress it speedily. Though anger in itself is not sinful, yet there is the upmost danger of its becoming so if it be not carefully watched and speedily suppressed. And therefore, though anger may come into the bosom of a wise man, it rests only in the bosom of fools. Neither give place to the devil, v. 27. Those who persevere in sinful anger and in wrath let the devil into their hearts, and suffer him to gain upon them, till he bring them to malice, mischievous machinations, etc.
Seeds germinate in the dark. Our minds ruminate toward the negative and dastardly when anger is the ground on which we go to sleep. As we sleep, bitterness and wrath that we did not let go of in the light takes root in the dark soil of our anger. We awaken in the morning with a slight headache, not well-rested because of anger’s and bitterness’s work through the night. The next day shines on the problem and illuminates it until we are thinking even more divisive and hateful thoughts.
Each night we allow the sun to set on anger, the roots of bitterness grow deeper and stronger. They begin to attach themselves to memories once good. Now we twist those recollections into unrecognizable nightmares. Every word we hear sounds dissident rather than melodic as we contort each phrase to mean something against us. Each look is misinterpreted; each sign assigned our own imprecise meaning. We become the reason there is no laughter in our midst, no joy in our surroundings. All this because our pride won’t allow us to get things right, no matter what that takes.
We are not talking here to advocate that a battered wife remain in harm’s way, or an unrepentant, cheating spouse be allowed to continue to enjoy life with us as he/she remains in an adulterous relationship, or anything like that. There is a place for righteous indignation when a person’s actions offend God. We are speaking here about offenses against us, especially when the supposed offender is an approachable brother or sister in Christ. Satan would like nothing more than to wreak havoc by causing family separation, distance between friends, and church break-ups, and we allow him to do so when we let the sun go down on our anger.
How would we be disobeying God by letting the anger go? Would we be in sin to forgive and forget like God does? Are we better than God in that we can hold things against others when He doesn’t? Would we displease God by refusing to hold consequences over the heads of those we claim mistreated us? Do we even care if God is pleased with how we act toward one another? How would it hurt us to humble ourselves?
The warning and the meaning are clear: Do not let the sun go down on your anger because when you do so, you give Satan a foothold into your life. We invite him in to do what he does best: steal, kill, and destroy.
©2013 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.
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