For A Healthy Life and Church
Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil. (Ephesians 4:26-27)
The church is a place where we find hope, peace, love, unity, strength, and growth in our development of faith and life in Jesus Christ. It is also a place where new people come and find Jesus Christ. For these to be realized, the health of the church is crucial as well as the health of the people who gather there. Paul could have had a specific response in mind when he addressed the Ephesian Christians saying, “Be angry but do not sin.” In general, anger is one of many challenges for an unhealthy life, even for the church.
In my listening and meeting with churches and people I remember someone had asked, “What is the most challenging sin in your life that you are struggling with?” The room was filled with silence. It seemed as though everyone was not sure how to respond or that they thought the question was inappropriate. One of them asked for a clarification, “Can you elaborate what you mean?” Knowing how people felt about the question, the person who initiated the question clarified the question with his own answer, “The sin I am most struggling with is anger…”
There are many challenges, not just anger, in life that we are struggling with and these challenges affect not only our own health but the health of the church as well. This may be why Paul had given a strong exhortation about anger: “Be angry but do not sin… do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil.” Paul included falsehood, theft, slander, evil talk, bitterness, wrath, and the grieving of the Holy Spirit among others as part of the struggle of an unhealthy life. These challenges have their consequences. With anger, Moses was bound to strike the rock twice for water which prevented him from entering the promised land. It was not Moses alone, but all people in his generation missed out on the promised land. One cause led to another. Paul’s advice is worth heeding as we seek to overcome our challenges today for a healthy life and a healthy church.
Almighty God, I lift up my life before you, in my going and in my coming and doing. Teach me your way and how to serve you. Help me how to live each day of my life, in all that I do and say. In Jesus name, Amen.