Expressing Anger Before Sunset

“Faking it and lying to one another was part of your old life; now truth remains the constant inspiration in your every conversation. We are related to one another … Even if you think you have a valid excuse, do not let anger dominate your day! If you don’t deal with it immediately, the sun sets and your day becomes one of lost opportunity …”

As a child, I used to think that the expression: “Do not let the sun go down while you are angry” meant that I should learn to let anger go and simply forgive. This resulted in my suppressing anger and not really knowing how to deal with it other than to sulk, cuss and pray on my own. I did not confront people when I felt angry with them. I preferred to run away and hide.

Yet at closer examination, Ephesians 4:25-26 where this expression is quoted (from Psalm 4:4), does not encourage suppression of anger or mere personal-prayer forgiveness of the party we feel angry toward. Verse 25 talks about honest expression of anger.

Even society in general seems to discourage honest discussion about anger. Society prefers gossip over confrontation. Verbal expression of anger in an appropriate way to the person, is healthier for the relationship than suppression of anger, gossip or avoidance!

Counsellors today advise that when we need to confront situations that result in anger within us, we need to take ownership rather than blame:
“I feel angry because I thought that you were going to do XYZ. And when that did not pan out, my plans were affected by your behaviour,” as opposed to “You said you were going to do XYZ, but you didn’t, so this is all your fault!”

The quote above is the Mirror Bible version of Ephesians 4:25-26. Here is my paraphrase: “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry. Stop lying and tell the truth about your anger to the person you feel angry toward, because we are one family.”

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