“Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.” (Ephesians 4:26,27)
Anger is likened in scripture to fire. Its flames can “wax hot.” How is it that men quickly remove their bodies from physical fire, but let anger consume them, day in and day out? Paul carried a fury in his heart toward the church of Jesus. His anger motivated him to murder. He came to understand the destructive power of anger that was kept in the heart. When it is retained for even one day it opens the door for demonic activity in our life. Evil spirits fill us with thoughts of violence and vengeance toward those who have harmed us or we deem to be evil.
Offenses cause pain. The deeper our pain and the longer we carry anger toward those who have hurt us the greater our desire for vengeance. Forgiveness releases an offender from our anger. The sooner we forgive, the sooner our hearts can be cleansed from anger, restored to peace, and kept from demonic thoughts.
We dare not wait until one repents to forgive them. Anger remains in our bosom until we forgive. It is foolhardy to keep alive the flame of anger in our heart. “… For anger resteth in the bosom of fools.” (Eccles. 7:9) The health of our heart should not depend upon another’s acknowledgment of wrong. We may never be free of anger if we have to wait for another to see their offense.
If there is a need to tell another how they have offended you, do so. They may or may not admit to any wrongdoing. But before you go to them, on the very first day you have been hurt, before you have even spoken to them, forgive them. Put out the flame in your heart before you do anything else. Give place to God, not the devil. You will then be moved to action, not by the heat of your own spirit, but by the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.
“Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.” (Micah 7:18)