Friday, November 9, 2018
25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.
In one form or another, you may have heard these words before. Do not let the sun go down on your anger. How true these words are, yet they are also not necessarily easy to live out. You and I know persons who have been angry for years, perhaps over some wrong committed in their childhood. A dad walks out, and the rest of the family is left grappling with anger and loss. A young person becomes involved with drugs or alcohol, or becomes the victim of sexual assault, or is unjustly denied educational or employment opportunities because of race. There are no easy answers to the anger inherent within these and other situations.
For all the tragic and unjust hardships imposed upon us through no fault of our own, we still have a choice how to respond. I remember reading about a woman who had been raped, the worst invasion of a woman’s body. Yes, she was angry and in mourning, but she came to realize that she could not give in to her attacker and retreat into a shell and not live her life. She had to give all the anger and hurt over to God and leave her burden at God’s feet. Otherwise she could not go on.
God wants our health – and especially the mental and spiritual health of a soul that is completely free as we turn all our troubles over to the Lord. Yes, this can be one of the hardest things we could ever do – releasing our anger over to God’s judgment and being released from our own need to retaliate. God knows we are hurt by our continued anger, far more than the one who is the object of our wrath. God in his love wishes to remove this burden of anger from us, if we can choose to let it go.
Dear God, you know my petty irritations and you also know the extent of a full-throttle anger that is deep-seated and pervasive. Maybe I can throw off the minor stuff by the end of a day, but how much I need you to help me through the really tough situations that I cannot solve on my own. Help me identify and offer you these long-term problems that have made me angry. Set me free, Lord. By your grace, help me find a way where I see no way. Release me from anger so I may live more fully for you. In Christ’s name, Amen.