And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil. Ephesians 4:26-27 NLT
It is no secret that in the Church worldwide and in the church local, divisions take place, feelings get hurt, and pride is injured.
The Church both worldwide and local is made up of a mixture of people: poor, rich, political differences, young and old, male and female, culture and racial differences fill our pews. These differences are beautiful, as they represent the beauty of God and the plan of reconciliation of all creation through Jesus.
But these differences can also lead to opportunities of hurt feelings and anger.
I have pastored now for over 22 years and in those 22 years I have seen churches split and close because of unreconciled differences. Many times, it is a simple miss-spoken word that leads to the destruction of what otherwise was a healthy church. I have seen friendships ripped apart because of the anger of one party, while the other never knew what had happened. I have seen marriages end in divorce over an argument that took place years before but the hurt and anger was never dealt with, leading to years of resentment and pain.
Paul in these simple two verses is giving the Church a new way to live, for the Church is to be a new society, people built on the teachings and sacrificial love of Jesus. In these two verses Paul teaches us two vital lesson we all can learn.
1. Though anger in and of itself may not be sinful, the meditation on anger will lead to sin. Paul urges the Church to seek reconciliation before the days end. To confront the offender in love with the intent of reconciliation and not payback.
Yet, many times what we do, is hold onto our anger. We let it sit for days and then, we recruit others to be angry with us. Over time, we find any and all reasons to remain angry, we find faults to buffer our so called “righteous anger” and lead others into our misery.
2. Paul’s second, lesson for us is a negative lesson. If we let our anger fester without reconciliation and forgiveness, we will give the devil (Accuser) a foothold or place in our lives to wreak havoc. We may be justified in feeling angry but, if we hold on to it, it will be used by the accuser to destroy the relationships God has placed in our lives for our good.
The person you are angry with is also the person God has placed in your life. Somehow your relationship with one another in Christ is for your mutual good. As iron sharpens iron so does man sharpen man, the prover tells us. But not only is that person there for your good but, that person is a child of God just as you are a child of God. You are letting the accuser use your anger, to destroy your Spiritual bond with your brother and sister.
But maybe the greatest tragedy is the tragedy of God’s Glory. The Church is the body and work of Jesus, it is the glory of God on earth, for it displays His power, love and victory over sin, death and the accuser. When we allow the accuser to use our anger to bring division in the body of Jesus we are allowing ourselves to be used as a tool to attack the glory of God.
Today, I urge you to seek reconciliation. Forgive your brother or sister and let go of your anger. Not only is it our duty as citizens of the Kingdom but it is an act of worship that declares the glory of God to world that is desperate for His truth, power, and love.