Wednesday’s Column: Third’s Words
Balance is frustratingly difficult to pinpoint and maintain. More often than not we gravitate toward an extreme on either end of balance.
With anger, most will fall into one of the extremes: either one has no spine or is prone to losing control.
An example of balance can be found in Ephesians 4.26. It begins with a passive imperative: “be angry.” There is a time and place for this unpleasant emotion – any damage to the bride of Christ warrants this response, for example.
There are three imperatives to balance out our use of anger:
- Do not sin.
- Do not let the sun go down on your anger.
- Do not give the devil an opportunity.
Anger is sometimes necessary, but it must be short-lived.
Unchecked anger gives Satan space in our hearts. The word translated “opportunity” is τόπος (topos), which is a place to live, an inhabited structure, or a favorable circumstance for doing something (BDAG 1011). If we allow our anger to get out of control, we’ve created favorable circumstances for Satan to influence us.
Since balance is what we’re looking for, we have to get angry to create positive change, but we have to temper (aha) that anger with restraint if we don’t want Satan to have a chance to influence the church through us.