Don’t Kick Yourself in the Head
25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another. 26 BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not give the devil an opportunity.
These next few passages until the end of chapter 4 are examples of what Paul talked about previously. He discussed dying to the old self and embracing the new. Now, he is giving us examples that contrast the two, as an example of how we once were and how we are now as believers and followers of Christ.
Reading it again, I notice that verses 25 and 26 talk about two separate things. However, I feel they are related. How are they related? I think about situations where we might be angry with someone. Do we tell each other what our problem with them is? Sometimes we scream at them, yelling obscenities, lashing out as a result of our own hurt. Other times, we avoid them and talk behind their backs. Sometimes we are upset with someone and they don’t even know it! We pretend we don’t have a problem with it, but then discuss matters behind closed doors or even in our own heads.
Since we are of the same body, the Body of Christ, we should lay aside these things and speak the truth (in love, let’s not forget) and lay aside falsehood. I try to think of it as this: if we are all parts of the same body, then the grudges we hold against each other are like the finger poking out an eye, a fist punching the leg, a foot kicking yourself in the head (no, I can’t quite do that myself, but some people can).
Notice here that Paul references Psalm 4:4 when he talks about anger. Emotions by themselves are not sins. Anger is not a sin unless you act in a sinful way because of it. I know I have done this on many occasions. It’s pretty easy to do, isn’t it? Why? Because we give the devil an opportunity. We give him real estate in our minds and hearts and eventually we give way. Why is being sinful so easy? We are born that way! We are born into sin; thankfully God has graced us with His Son to save us from it, if only we will turn His way.
In not giving the enemy a foothold, we must look back to verse 25. If we are upset by someone’s actions, we must confront them in truth so that it does not drive a wedge between parts of the body. If there is something preventing your hand and foot to work together, you are less effective, are you not? Similarly, we should not let differences divide us from each other, being of the same body. We do this with His Truth, in love, full of grace.
1 O LORD, who may abide in Your tent?
Who may dwell on Your holy hill?
2 He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness,
And speaks truth in his heart.
3 He does not slander with his tongue,
Nor does evil to his neighbor,
Nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
4 In whose eyes a reprobate is despised,
But who honors those who fear the LORD;
He swears to his own hurt and does not change;
5 He does not put out his money at interest,
Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things will never be shaken.
Notice how verses 2 and 3 match up with today’s passage? How can we be more like this today?