Summary: Church people are more famous for our bickering than our brotherly love--why is that?
25Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27and give no opportunity to the devil. 28Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
A story is told of a woman whose little girl was throwing a temper tantrum as the two went up and down the aisles of a busy grocery store. The toddler sat in the cart screaming and flailing about. As she continued shopping, she could be heard calmly muttering, "Don't yell, Susie. Calm down, Susie. Don't get excited, Susie."?
A woman passing by commended her saying, "You certainly are doing a great job trying to calm down your little Susie."
“My little Susie?!” responded the mother. “Lady, I'm Susie!”
This mom was doing her best to avoid conflict!
- Conflict within the family of God is unavoidable, but how we choose to deal with it says something about the Holy Spirit's control over us
- Paul has just finished talking about adoption into the family of God as being renewed by the Spirit; now he describes how this is literally fleshed out
1. Don’t Lie to Family
a. “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.” (v.25)
b. Honesty is a prerequisite to healthy-functioning family
- “put away falsehood” – more than lying; also exaggeration, adding fabrications to something that is true; cheating, foolish promises, betraying confidence, false excuses.
c. God’s work in the world is based on truth; the people of God can’t be used by Him if we can’t be know to be honest
- “speak the truth with his neighbor”
- Quoted from Zecharia 8:16 — “These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts;”
2. Don’t Get All Worked Up with Family
a. “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” (v. 26)
b. Anger can be good or bad, depending on motive and purpose
1) “Be angry and do not sin”
2) Quoted from Psalm 4:4: “Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent.”
3) Paul is not talking here about righteous indignation, anger at evil that hates injustice, immorality, ungodliness; this is not only permissible, but commanded
4) “Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand. And they [the scribes and Pharisees] watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.” And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored.” (Mark 3:1-5)
c. Any anger can decay into bitterness, so it should be set aside by the end of the day
a) “Do not let the sun go down on your anger”
b) Rom. 12:17-21... “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
- “heap burning coals”—this is about inciting shame, not anger
3. Don’t Take Advantage of Family
a. “Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.” (vv.27-28)