Ephesians 4:26-32 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Unforgiveness is rebellion against God. It is the deliberate choice to refuse to
give up one’s resentment and the right to seek retribution based on the attitude that someone has to pay for something they did to us or someone else. It is a prideful attitude that elevates self above the offender. The more pride we hold onto, the longer it takes us to forgive and work towards reconciliation.
When we harbor unforgiveness in our hearts, it manifests itself in our thoughts, words, and actions. When we think about that person, we have negative feelings instead of feelings of compassion. We will speak ill of them or speak unkindly to them. We will either avoid them when we see them coming or look for an opportunity to unleash our fury on them. We may have an inappropriate response to a different person or situation that reminds us of the hurt we have gone through previously. Unforgiveness may also lead us to give ungodly counsel to others. Unforgiveness is ugly. See what else is lumped together with unforgiveness in 2 Timothy 3:2-5.
Romans 12:19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
God may keep bringing it up in our hearts to urge us to obey Him so we can be right with Him. However, we can ignore the Holy Spirit by hardening our hearts to the point He stops trying. Rebelling against His gentle, quiet voice can put us in the way of more consequences. He will still extend grace to the believer, but our spiritual walk will be hampered.
God tells us He will handle the situation for us. He knows how to speak to their heart and deal with their sin, and we do not want to interfere with God's work. Our acts of revenge, bitterness, and hostility only reap us more negativity.
If Christ came to forgive us our sins and extend grace on all of the bad things we have done, then to example Him means we have to forgive others. Most of the things we hold in our hearts against others are meaningless when measured with an eternal view. (She stole your car, drove while drunk, crashed it, and put other's lives in danger for the few minutes she was driving. That's bad! Your anger and unforgiveness is putting spiritual lives in danger for eternity. That's even worse!)
“Do not let the sun gone down while you are still angry” does not mean “don’t go to bed angry.” It means we are to deal with sin quickly and without delay to prevent “giving the devil a foothold.” We are to make haste to take action! When we allow ourselves to hold on to anger, resentment, bitterness, we give satan power in our lives. It is so easy to allow those things to sprout and take root deep in our hearts and so hard to get rid of them.
Sometimes the person that committed the offense acts as if the reaction they received to the hurt they caused is worse than their offense. What we have to realize is that when we made the choice to rebel against God's way, part of the consequences of that sin is that person's reaction. We resent the reaction to our sin until we fully acknowledge our willful and deliberate choice to sin caused pain which triggered a response. Once we focus on our sin, their reaction shrinks in comparison. Then, we are able to find forgiveness for the reaction. Forgiveness requires humility.
Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin" Proverbs 20:9
When God clearly puts something on your heart to do, He doesn't want you to wait until circumstances are in your favor. Pride makes us think we know a better time than He does. He doesn't want you to hesitate while you build your confidence. Doubt makes us question. Your doubts, hesitations, and delay tactics are nothing more than sin. Once you know what God's will is, anything less than action is disobedience.