'Do not let the sun'

Wednesday Reflection

5th August 2020

'go down on your anger'

"Do not let the sun go down on your anger,
 and do not give the devil an opportunity"
   (Ephesians 4:26-27).

Anger gives ground to the devil.
Bitterness invites him to occupy a space in your heart, to rent a room.
Believe me, he will move in and stink up the place.
Gossip, slander, temper - anytime you see these,
Satan has claimed a bunk.

Evict him. Don't even give him the time of day.
In the name of Jesus tell him to pack his bags and hit the road.
Begin the process of forgiveness.

Keep no list of wrongs.
Pray for your antagonists rather than plot against them.
Hate the wrong without hating wrongdoers.
Turn your attention away from what they did to you, to what Jesus did for you.
Outrageous as it may seem, Jesus died for them too.
If He thinks they are worth forgiving, they are.
Does that make forgiveness easy?
Quick? Seldom. Painless?

It wasn't for Joseph.
The brothers returned to Egypt from Canaan, Benjamin in tow.
Joseph invited them to a dinner.
He asked about Jacob, spotted Benjamin, and all but came undone.

"God be gracious to you, my son,"
he blurted before he hurried out of the room to weep
   (Genesis 43:29).

He returned to eat and drink and make merry with the brothers.
Joseph sat them according to birth order.
He singled out Benjamin for special treatment.
Every time the brothers got one helping, Benjamin got five.
They noticed this. But said nothing.

Joseph loaded their sacks with food
and hid his personal cup in the sack of Benjamin.
The brothers were barely down the road when Joseph's steward
stopped their caravan, searched their sacks,
and found the cup.
The brothers tore their clothes
(the ancient equivalent of pulling out one's hair)
and soon found themselves back in front of Joseph,
fearing for their lives.

Joseph couldn't make up his mind!
He welcomed them, wept over them, ate with them,
and then played a trick on them.
He was at war with himself.

These brothers had peeled the scab off
his oldest and deepest wound.
And he would be hanged before he'd let them do it again.
On the other hand, these were his brothers,
and he would be hanged before he lost them again.

Forgiveness vacillates like this.

It has fits and starts, good days and bad.
Anger intermingled with love.
Irregular mercy. We make progress only to make a wrong turn.
Step forward and fall back.
But this is okay.

When it comes to forgiveness, all of us are beginners.
No one owns a secret formula.
As long as you are trying to forgive, you are forgiving.
It's when you no longer try that bitterness sets in.
Stay the course.

You'll spend less time in the spite house
and more in the grace house.
And as one who has walked the hallways of both,
I can guarantee that you are going to love the space of grace.

'While the cat is away....'