26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath,
26 “Be angry,
The phrase “be angry, and do not sin” references Psalm 4:4. Anger is the expression of displeasure.
There are three words in the Greek for anger, two of which occur in this verse: (1) thumos, a boiling agitation, is turbulent anger that quickly subsides; (2) the verb orgizo is abiding anger, a settled anger in the soul that has become a habit. This is the word translated here “be angry”; (3) parogismos, wrath, irritation, exasperation, embitterment. This is the word used in the next phrase “do not let the sun go down upon your wrath.” The implication of the last two words is that, if we allow abiding anger to settle in our souls, then we will develop a bitter attitude.
The first word for “angry” is to provoke, arouse to anger. The Greek indicates that “be angry” is a command. This is a charge from God to have objective anger, not subjective anger. Good anger does not come from selfishness or subjective motives. Objective anger is a righteous anger; therefore, this kind of anger is not sinful. Good anger is not vindictive but seeks unselfish justice for others. Bad anger originates from resentment or some self-serving purpose.
Note that this statement is not “be not angry” but “be angry.” There is a valid place for anger if it is objective rather than subjective anger. All Christians become angry occasionally. The question is not about whether we get angry but about the nature of our anger. Subjective anger, anger that comes from personal injury, is sinful anger. Good anger concerns itself with the unfair treatment of others, with whether people are unjustly hurt. Jesus was angry that religious leaders cheated folks in the temple. Their shameless greed aroused His anger.
There is a difference between subjective and objective anger.
The Bible asserts valid objective anger. God has wrath (Mt 3:7; Ro 12:19). It is impossible to love without hating things that violate people. Anger can be righteously expressed. Jesus expressed anger.
Mr 3: 5 And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other.
There are times when anger is sinful. When we become subjectively anger from the motivations of jealousy, resentment, vindictiveness, hatred or malice, then we are sinfully angry. It is difficult to separate subjective sinful anger and objective righteous anger. It takes God’s judgment and wisdom to make that distinction.