Hunkered Down Devotion

Ephesians 4:26-27; 30-32 (Voice)
26 When you are angry, don’t let it carry you into sin.[a] Don’t let the sun set with anger in your heart or 27 give the devil room to work.  30 It’s time to stop bringing grief to God’s Holy Spirit; you have been sealed with the Spirit, marked as His own for the day of rescue. 31 Banish bitterness, rage and anger, shouting and slander, and any and all malicious thoughts—these are poison. 32 Instead, be kind and compassionate. Graciously forgive one another just as God has forgiven you through the Anointed, our Liberating King.

One of the rules growing up in our house was that you weren’t allowed to ‘go to bed angry’.  We had to talk out and work through whatever had happened and make sure we ok with each other before we were allowed to go to bed.  Whenever I asked for the reason for this, I was pointed to this passage – we weren’t supposed to let the ‘sun go down on our anger’.  

As a child, I think I understood this primarily as just another rule, just something that I needed to learn, listen to, and follow.  But as I have gotten older, and – hopefully – wiser, it has become more and more clear to me that this wasn’t simply a rule, but rather there was and is real wisdom here.

Not allowing the Sun to go down on our anger is the key to not giving the devil room to work.  It is important here to note that there isn’t a lot – or any, actually – mitigation here.  Paul doesn’t tell the church in Ephesus that they need to let go of their anger except when someone has really messed up, or when the person was a complete idiot, or disagrees with us about something important like politics or, you know, sports.  No.  Scripture doesn’t give us any wiggle room for exceptions here, because the Devil is looking for any opening that we will offer.
And the message for us in these verses is that anger, when we allow it to rest on our hearts, minds, and souls, gives the devil the opening he needs to work and wreak havoc in our lives.   Instead, God invites us to replace that anger, and the bitterness, rage and all the other nastiness that comes with it with kindness and compassion and see what the Holy Spirit can do with our lives when we allow that to be what permeates hearts and our minds and our souls.

Sharing God’s Love,

Prayer: Lord, help us to banish anger and hate and replace it with your goodness, kindness and love.  Amen.

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