Why is it that when children are wrestling or goofing around, they never seem to assess if they are playing in an area with enough space? And why do they think that tripping is funny without thinking of possible consequences? I especially go crazy when one of the kids are laying on the floor and grab a hold of one of the other kiddo's feet. Immediately pictures of face plants or landing on the corner of our coffee table run through my mind. My children rarely do that because the few times they have thought it would be fun, I have firmly expressed my concerns. As children of God, we have an enemy who wants to grab a hold of our feet and trip us up; please read Ephesians 4:25-27.
The second half of Ephesians 4 is reminding us to put on our new selves because we now belong to God. Paul is now explaining to us what that means. The first thing we learn is that we need to stop lying. That really doesn't mean anything other than don't lie. Paul once again reminds us of the unity we have as the body of Christ, therefore we should not lie to each other. As part of the same body, it is important to be truthful with one another. This includes when another member of the body hurts you. Think of it this way: if your one hand slammed a finger in a drawer by accident it is important that your finger shares that it is hurt so it can get out of the drawer. In the same way, when one person hurts us it is important to "speak the truth in love" and share the pain so they will know that it hurt. It doesn't help if you say, "Oh, it's no big deal..." when you have been hurt. When that happens, you never have the opportunity to grow closer together and learn to work with one another. And pretending the pain isn't there will never allow the situation to change.
On that same subject, Paul quotes Psalm 4:4 by telling us not to sin in our anger. If you read the entire verse in the Psalms, you will see that it says to "think about it overnight and remain silent." This almost seems to contradict the next thing Paul says when we are reminded that we are not to allow the sun to go down on our anger. Personally, I do not believe this to be a contradiction. I think Paul is saying that we are to calm down before going to bed so we can think it through rationally. I can speak from experience that if I go to bed angry and fuming in my head, I need to stay awake and think through other perspectives otherwise I will not sleep well anyway. It is when I allow myself to come to God with it and ask Him to help me through the emotions that I can have peace. If we stuff it down without thinking through our hurt and anger, we are hurting ourselves even more. I think both the Psalms and Ephesians are telling us that if it takes all night to settle down and forgive, do it!
We are warned that anger gives the devil a foothold. It is important to heed this warning! Just as kids grabbing onto a foot while playing can cause a trip up and serious injury, allowing the devil to grab a hold of our feet will do the same for us. Holding onto anger will trip you up; bottom line. I have learned that when I am angry at my wonderful husband, I need to give myself space to calm down and think through why I am so angry. When I do that, I find myself in a place where I see that some of my feelings of entitlement are showing. Thinking of the undeserved grace and forgiveness I have received through Christ, I no longer feel entitled and I drop the anger more easily. The longer we hold on to our anger, the harder it is to get rid of it which is what Paul is telling us. Don't hang on to the anger and allow God to show you a new perspective - even if it takes an entire night of prayer and meditation on the Word.
Are you giving the devil a foothold in your anger?
Linking up with iFellowship Blog Hop and Mustard Seed Planting.