Be Angry and Do Not Sin

We in our base have been thinking about Ephesians 4.  I spent time the other morning, listening to it over and over via  I have heard enough sermons on Ephesians 4:26 which seem to acknowledge it’s presence, and then confusingly negate it, suggesting that anger inherently leads to sin, so if you are angry you haven’t sinned yet, but be careful, because anger is a foothold of the devil.

Paul does not actually say this.  Unresolved anger is a foothold to the devil, and even still we believe that it is the anger that is the problem…but what if we read verses 25-26, laying down our fear of anger and pairing down the descriptive words so that all we have is the verbs and their direct objects.  “…speak the truth…be angry…do not sin…”  What if anger is a warning sign of injustice and denying anger is a form of the falsehood we are exhorted to put away?  What if Paul really meant to say “be angry”?  Surely the anger itself can seethe and fester into bitterness, pride, and rage, but if we are somehow able to successfully conquer our anger without resolution, then the injustice goes on without confrontation, still giving the devil plenty of opportunity to work with everyone else.

In the context of “speak the truth…be angry…do not sin” I believe that not letting the sun go down on my anger has more to do with denial than it does with anger.  If I am provoked, I am to find resolution, and I am to make it a priority, resolving that day if at all possible.  (I always wondered what happened if I got angry after the sun went down.)  And what sort of resolution are we talking here?  Paul gives us a few ideas regarding thieves and talkers.  Those prone to a certain character flaw should not engage as they once did, but use their energy and strength to build up the people of Christ.  In fact we should “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.”

Now I understand the propensity for confusing sermons on this passage.  “Be angry…do not sin…let anger be put away from you.”  I looked up the original language.  Angry verse 26 refers to being provoked.  Anger in verse 31 refers to a state of constant anger.  Although one word comes from the other, one has a sense of direction (vs 26) and the other has a sense of stagnancy (vs 31).  I would even argue, from other Biblical uses of the word in verse 26, that the word implies action.  And that action can be found in the exhortations to be transformed in mind and deed.  Finally, as we are working toward results, toward change provoked by anger, we are to release offense.  “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”  Anger itself does not produce results.  It may initiate change or keep it moving, but it is not intended as a place to reside.  Falsehood and denial rob anger of it’s potency for change while trapping it within the heart of a person.  Anger has a purpose, but only in the context of forgiveness and truth.

“Speak the truth…be angry…do not sin…”

For we are all members of one another.

YWAM Pismo Beach Structure

I thought it would be helpful, in my blog post this week, to explain the structure of the base and talk a little about the staff.

Currently, we have thirteen staff at YWAM Pismo:


Base Ministry:  Our base has 15 departments (also called committees or ministries) that help it run.  These departments cover all the basic needs of the base: physical, financial, communications, administrative, spiritual, etc.  For instance, we need people to make sure we have paper clips, that checks are processed, that the toilet gets cleaned, that bills are paid, that people know about our base, and that we are doing the things we are called to do!  We share these responsibilities by serving within these departments.  Everybody serves in at least three, everybody facilitates at least one.  Some people also have personal ministries, which I can tell more about later.  We try to get all our work done, both for the base and personal ministries, during our work hours.  This just helps to keep us accountable for how we spend our time and also keeps our lives relevant to the culture in which we live.  A little story from yesterday will be a good example of how we all “wear different hats” and how that works together:

Lauren and Cat are both part of our Outreach Department and were going to the store to buy supplies.  I was with them on their errand because I had an errand of my own.  While we were out, I needed to take an hour from our work day for a last-minute appointment.  Lauren is on Guidance Committee (which is like the human resources department) and Cat, being in the Administrative department, is the person who is responsible for tracking time off and time away from base.  They were exactly the people I needed to communicate with!  They put on their administrative hats for a moment, we talked about the business side of what needed to be covered.  It was such a blessing!  Then they put on their supportive ministry friend hats and prayed with me.  Another amazing blessing.

The departments I am on are:

Intercession, Worship, and Spiritual Warfare
Staff Development

People also have personal ministries and the base hosts two schools.  I can talk more about those another day.  I  hope this gives you a more clear glimpse into my life at YWAM Pismo Beach.


This week during our silence and solitude time, which we have once a month, I spent a couple hours contemplating the work of the cross.  I remembered a teaching on the difference between mercy and grace. 

GRACE = God DOES give us what we DON’T deserve.

MERCY = God DOESN’T give us what we DO deserve.

Mercy and grace are the work of the cross within an individual’s life, but I have been thinking more and more about the corporate work of the cross.  I know what it means that Jesus paid the price for my sin, but what does it mean to me that He paid for my neighbor’s sin?  If He was able to fulfill God’s justice through His sacrifice, to pay the debt I owed to God, can’t He also pay to me the debt of injury from my neighbor’s sin against me?  To forgive is to acknowledge my neighbor owes me and to release him from that debt, but then I bear the cost of his debt.  But the work of Jesus on the cross means that *I* do not have to bear that cost…Jesus can.  

Maybe a simple example with money will help.  Let’s say that Joe owes me $50.  If I forgive him that $50, I’m still short $50.  So then I bear the cost.  But if someone, say, Jesus, gives me $50, then he bears the cost.  Jesus died so that we can love one another truly, free from sin, selfishness, and self-protection.  

So many in this world have endured abuses that can never be repaid to them, the cost of which they cannot bear.  When we go continually to people to collect a debt they can never repay, we come up empty and wounded.  When we step with holy confidence out of the debt they cannot pay and turn to Jesus, we find the life they could not give.