I've been reading the devotionals in the back of this month's In Touch magazine. The recent topic is anger and I wanted to share a few things said.
An angry spirit is contagious. It is passed from one person to another -- and from one generation to the next. Workplaces can become tense environments full of caustic words and attitudes. Ire turns homes into battlegrounds of verbal explosions or silent hostility. Even churches suffer from malicious gossip and fights over personal preferences. . . . Children learn to respond to life's situations by observing their parents' example. They then develop similar attitudes and patterns of behavior. We need to give serious thought to what kind of heart we are passing down to our sons and daughters.
Wow, really sobering, huh? Are we passing down a heritage of anger and resentment? Children often mirror what they see in us. I couldn't help but think of family feuds (e.g. Hatfields and McCoys) when the author mentioned passing down this angry spirit from generation to generation. Can we not see this displayed throughout the world? In my opinion, it should have absolutely no place within the family of God!
The author asks:
Which would you prefer: churning anger or Christ's peace? Both require sacrifice. To maintain anger, you might have to forfeit healthy relationships and a godly heritage for your descendants. But to acquire peace, ask God to help you leave your grudges, personal rights, and insults on the altar.
Notice the choice here? Maintaining anger requires effort - a choice on your part. The author challenges us to get rid of any resentment, anger or bitterness in our lives. Perhaps we don't even realize we have bitterness down deep, but he urges us to ask God to reveal it to us so we can get rid of it with His help. Somehow I ended up reading in Ephesians and thought these verses were worth noting in this post:
1As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
See how we are urge to make every effort to be unified? I daresay we often don't put much effort into keeping things peaceful. Why? Because like you, I want my own way! I want to explain why I am right, how you hurt me and I want to be understood no matter if losing peace is the price!
And then read on to these familiar verses. Ones that most church-going children learned in their Sunday schools or AWANA programs. But don't just gloss over them because they are familiar. Read them, and better yet, LIVE them! How different America could be if those who say they follow Christ actually applied these few verses.
29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
And finally this wonderful reminder from the first two verses of the next chapter. Ephesians 5:
1Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
We must be like our Father. Live a life of love and service today!