The Sunset Clause

by Pastor Kevin Sadler

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“Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither
give place to the devil” (Eph. 4:26-27).

God does not want us to be angry with a sinful anger. We know it is possible to be angry “and sin not” because God gets angry. The phrase “anger of the Lord” is found 32 times in the Bible. God is always righteous in His anger, but often we are not. Anger in response to wrongdoing, injustice, and others being hurt isn’t sin, but anger that is selfish, spiteful, cruel, and out of control is sinful.

To deal with anger which can lead to other sins, God gives a command to “let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” This “sunset clause” is an effective way to remind us to take steps to deal with our anger, as quickly as we can, before it settles in and festers. This instruction is not meant to be a restrictive, by-the-letter rule, that if we get angry at 7:45 p.m. and the sun sets at 8:00 p.m. that we need to deal with it in 15 minutes. Rather, the Church is being taught to make it a priority to deal with the situation, to communicate and resolve feelings of anger as soon as possible.

“A married couple had a quarrel and ended up giving each other the silent treatment. A week into their mute argument, the man realized he needed his wife’s help. In order to catch a flight to Chicago for a business meeting, he had to get up at 5 a.m. Not wanting to be the first to break the silence, he wrote on a piece of paper, ‘Please wake me at 5 a.m.’ The next morning the man woke up only to discover his wife was already out of bed, it was 9 a.m., and his flight had long since departed. He was about to find his wife and demand an answer for her failings when he noticed a piece of paper by the bed. He read, ‘It’s 5 a.m. Wake up.’”1 If this couple would’ve lived by Ephesians 4:26, he wouldn’t have missed his flight!

The reason we need to deal with our anger is that there’s a larger dimension to it: so that we don’t “give place to the devil.” Unresolved anger can allow the devil a foothold in our lives and allow him to rule us. It can give him an opportunity to lead us into sins such as self-pity, pride, rage, revenge, bitterness, and resentment. However, as we obey God’s instruction in the Holy Spirit’s strength, not allowing the sun to go down upon our wrath, our lives and relationships will benefit to the glory of God.

1. Marriage Builders, Discussion Forum, #2754703, September 13, 2013,

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