May 15, 2008

Behind Closed Doors

Ephesians 4:25-28

“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.
Ephesians 4:26


In his book The Man in the Mirror, Patrick Morley quotes a successful businessman, who says, “I know that my marriage looks like the picture of success, but behind the closed doors of my private castle, life is very different.” Throughout the years I’ve found myself in homes that outwardly looked like a picture of harmony but in reality were more like a battlefield or a walk-in freezer because of unresolved anger.

According to Ephesians 4, anger is a legitimate emotion. Some things should make us angry. Sometimes honest talk that even gets rather heated can clear the air. But many Christians have confused sinful anger with righteous anger. Says Paul, “‘In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” In other words, couples should put a higher priority on resolving their anger than on getting a good night’s sleep.

Sinful anger can kill our feelings of love for each other. It can kill self-confidence. Some people go through life emotionally crippled because they grew up with an angry parent. Sinful anger puts a wall not only between us and others but also between us and God.

If your home is being hurt by sinful anger, refuse to live with it. Go for help. Perhaps you need an anger management class or counselor. Ask God’s forgiveness for your anger, and ask the Spirit to change your heart.

Holy Spirit, change the hearts of all who battle the demon of sinful anger. Give them the grace to go for help. Keep us all from sin, and help us to forgive in Jesus’ name. Amen.

About the author — Arthur J. Schoonveld

Rev. Art Schoonveld is a retired minister in the Christian Reformed Church. Before retiring in 2001, he served churches in California, Illinois, and Michigan. Since his retirement he has worked part-time for the denomination and has served as an interim pastor. Art and his wife, Anita, have four children and nine grandchildren.

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