[CF Devotionals] 2008-02-14 - Radio Silence

Eph 4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: (KJV)

For all the folks out there who thought it was sinful to be angry this looks like your "get out of jail free card". Anger itself is not sinful. God has been angry with different people and groups of people many times and God does not sin. His anger is justified. If someone stole my car, I would be upset with them. If someone beat me out for first place in a competition, that is a different matter. As long as they won fairly, I have no reason to be angry. So anger itself, as long as the cause for the anger is legitimate, is a normal emotion.

Here is where the doorway to freedom has a string attached. "... let not the sun go down on your wrath:". Don't let the anger fester and become a permanent part of your life. Try to resolve it as quickly as possible. How does that happen? Forgive the person who offended you. On the other side, if you are the one who has offended someone - apologize and ask to be forgiven. That forgiving gets harder when it more than a possession is involved. When someone loses a loved one in an accident or worse, that hurt goes very deep very quickly. I know more than one person who has lost someone important to them who blamed God for a period of time - months to even a few years. It's not uncommon, so please don't think them odd. They have suffered a terrible loss that can only be truly understood by someone who has gone through the same thing.

Anger eats at the body and the spirit. We were not built to hold on to anger. When we hold on to anger we not only punish the other person, we punish ourselves. Ulcers, heart attacks and more are all end results of the stresses caused by long-term anger. It gets in the way of relationships, even the relationship between ourselves and God if we allow it to happen. Finding the will to forgive is not always easy. There have been times when the whole problem has been a misunderstanding. It can take a very long time to forgive. Other times it doesn't happen at all and two people are separated by death unreconciled. When two people stop talking to each other I call it "radio silence". There are no positives in radio silence - no winners. It is important to note that if the person does not want to talk there is no way to force them to talk. At least they will know that you are willing to talk.

How many different ways has the Father shown us forgiveness? In the Garden of Eden God slew the lambs to make Adam and Eve coverings to hide their nakedness and to make a sacrifice to cover their sins. God forgave David who sinned with Bathsheba and had her husband murdered. Sampson was forgiven, and while chained and blinded in a dungeon was given back his amazing strength one last time. These were all preceded by heartfelt pleas from the offender, which were all graciously accepted by the one offended. David cried out to God, "Against Thee and Thee only have I sinned." That's a pretty amazing thought.

Jesus left the splendor of Heaven to come and die a horrible death for each of us on a cross so that we could be forgiven. He gave His life - there is no greater gift. There we were forgiven while we were still enemies against God. But forgiveness was publicly displayed to be available to anyone who would come.

Forgive. It is not a request. It is an instruction. That does not mean you agree with what they did. God does not agree with our sin whether past, present or future. It does mean that He will not hold it against us. There may still be consequences. A person who abuses alcohol may still have liver problems. It works the same way for us. A human relationship may not be completely lost, but it may also never be what it was. You and I have all been forgiven a debt we could never pay. We didn't even really understand our need and Jesus came and died for us anyway. Even if you believe a relationship is not repairable, and I find that to be rare in the extreme, even if the person will not talk to you - forgive them. The door to reconciliation is opened, just like the Lord opened the door for you and me.

John 6:37 "All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. (NASB)

Break the radio silence in your life if possible. Selah.

Grace & Peace,

[email mike] jmhoskins@gmail.com