Here are the verses in question:

Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. – Psalm 4:4

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. – Ephesians 4:26,27

In many situations, Biblically speaking, sin is what we do after the initial impulse.

So lust is not the initial awareness that a woman is pretty, it’s the second or third or lingering glance.

Coveting is not the thought, “That would be nice to have”, but the dwelling on your lack of it.

And sinful anger is not the first frustration, or the first heating up in your mind as you are bothered by something; the sin is the staying there and the doing.

So a person can be angry and not sin. We know this – from the above verses and personal experience. You know you can feel anger and choose to show grace, or mercy, or patience. Or you can step away from the situation.

Dads, please note that in my main statementD&A1 I didn’t say, “Never be angry at your children”. Rather, I’ve said, “Never act in anger against your children”.

And how should we do this? Let’s look at the verses.

“Ponder in your hearts on your bed and be silent” – Don’t jump to act on your anger. Look before you leap. Consider how you might have been responsible for this situation that is frustrating you. Give yourself some time to cool off.

“Do not let the sun go down on your anger” – Resolve it. There is a good chance your children need correction if they are making you angry. There’s also a good chance that you have misjudged them. After thinking about this, talk to them. Learn about their motivations. If discipline is the just response, then do it.

But not in anger. Not yelling. Calmly.

And let me tell you what I think these verses are not saying: They are not commandments to be angry. In heaven when we are being judged, no one will be told, “You weren’t angry enough”.

Next: What about Righteous Anger?

Click here to see the list of posts in this series.

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