Summary: Looking at Paul's words to help us understand anger.
Anger - Part 2
January 10, 2010
Last week we began talking about anger and my plan was to talk about anger in more practical terms this week . . . how do we recognize anger and how to deal with anger . . . and more.
But I want to move in a different, but practical direction and unpack our scripture reading from Ephesians. This week I felt God was leading me to help us look a little more deeply into this passage and see what Paul was saying so that we could understand it’s relevance in our lives.
One of the things we need to remember when we read the letters from Paul, is that these are just that . . . letters. When you and I receive a letter from a loved one, or from someone we haven’t seen in a long time, we sit and read the entire letter, from start to finish. We don’t make chapters or put headings in our letters, like some Bibles do . . . we just write until we’re finished.
Well, that’s exactly what Paul was doing. He was responding to some concerns in Ephesus, writing some theology and giving some practical instruction. So, it’s important when reading one of Paul’s letters to remember to read it as a whole. This is important when we read this section in the book of Ephesians. Because, you see, the first part of Ephesians 4 is so powerful . . . as Paul talks about the oneness in the church. And this section will lead us to talk about the later section in chapter 4, but we need to understand where Paul was coming from and what God wants for His people. Listen to these words from Paul ~
4:2Be 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. 4There is ONE body and ONE Spirit — just as you were called to ONE hope when you were called — 5ONE Lord, ONE faith, ONE baptism; 6ONE God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Folks, this is one of the best descriptions of what the church is supposed to be about. It is tremendously powerful, and carries with it the power to transform the world. Let’s think about this statement from Paul for a moment, which will lead us to jump into our discussion of anger.
In this passage, according to Paul, how are we (believers in Christ) supposed to act?
We are supposed to BE COMPLETELY humble and gentle; add lots of patience, and on top of that, we’re supposed to bear with one another in love. This means we don’t think too highly of ourselves, we are kind and gentle, even meek (which means having power but not using it); we are longsuffering or patient with one another, then we are to bear or tolerate and endure one another, doing it in love. This doesn’t mean we accept sin, it means we love one another through our sinfulness. WOW!! That’s a mouthful right there. But Paul in all of his beauty isn’t done.
We are then told we need to make every effort, not an occasional - when we fee like it - effort, but make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit of God through peace. It doesn’t mean we must always agree with one another, it’s okay to have conflict, confrontation, disagreements, and even to become angry with one another, but we must do this with humility, gentleness, patience, and bear with one another in love.