One of the best-known and oft-quoted pieces of relationship advice is found in Ephesians 4:26. That’s where the apostle Paul wrote,“Don’t get so angry that you sin. Don’t go to bed angry.” What’s remarkable about the verse, though, is not just what it says but also what it doesn’t say. The apostle Paul did not say,“Don’t get angry” or “Anger is a sin.” Instead, he warned us not to let our anger cause us to sin. Anger is a healthy emotion,every bit as valuable to our well-being as joy and grief. Anger is a natural response to upsetting circumstances. Neither does the verse say, “Don’t get angry with someone you love.” That’s unreasonable. When two people try to build a life together, conflict is inevitable. If they have problems resolving their conflicts, anger is practically a given. And that’s okay. What the apostle Paul suggested in Ephesians 4:26 is that we resolve our anger in a timely manner—ideally, within a day.
Why? One reason is that anger must not be allowed to fester. If it does, it will mutate into something uglier. Turned outward, it will become hatred; turned inward, depression. Clearing the air during your waking hours will prevent both scenarios. A second reason to work through your anger before sleep overtakes you is that it lets you get on with your life sooner. Anger—and the grudges that result from it—will occupy your thoughts until you do something about it. The more quickly you deal with it, the less your productivity will suffer. A third reason to deal with anger today instead of tomorrow is that tomorrow is promised to no one. Too many people regret their last angry words to a loved one. Don’t allow yourself to become one of them. Don’t go to bed angry.