Telling It As It Is

It is said, that we Yorkshire folk “call a spade a shovel”.  That is, we go straight to the heart of a situation and tell it as it is.
The writer to the Ephesians does a good job of doing that in this passage, and with it challenges us to do the same:

Ephesians 4:25-5:2

Rules for the New Life

25 We are part of the same body. Stop lying and start telling each other the truth. 26 Don’t get so angry that you sin. Don’t go to bed angry 27 and don’t give the devil a chance.

28 If you are a thief, quit stealing. Be honest and work hard, so you will have something to give to people in need.

29 Stop all your dirty talk. Say the right thing at the right time and help others by what you say.

30 Don’t make God’s Spirit sad. The Spirit makes you sure that someday you will be free from your sins.

31 Stop being bitter and angry and mad at others. Don’t yell at one another or curse each other or ever be rude. 32 Instead, be kind and merciful, and forgive others, just as God forgave you because of Christ.

5 Do as God does. After all, you are his dear children. Let love be your guide. Christ loved usand offered his life for us as a sacrifice that pleases God.

We are all one people, and it is about time we started acting like it.  We’re to stop lying, stop trying to smooth everything over, and start living with the truth of matters.

Telling one another the truth is not an opportunity to have your say, or to ‘jolly well tell Mrs X exactly what you think of her’. It is a call to right and proper challenge.  It’s not about getting angry, it’s quite the opposite – it’s about doing the right thing and living God’s way – and helping others to do the same.

Don’t give the devil a chance

– I love that.  However you perceive “the devil”, the gist of it is don’t give hate/injustice/greed/malice or any other unhealthy and unhelpful feelings or actions a shoe in.  Make no room for it.

Though it may be disputed as to who said it, it remains true that often,

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing

To see something wrong and do nothing about it allows it to continue.  The whole point of this passage is to stop people being angry at each other, and to be kind and merciful and forgive.

Challenging others is a hard path.  How to do it without causing upset, or it becoming an argument.

  • Is there a place for challenging the behaviour of others – without becoming angry?
  • How can we say the right thing at the right time?
  • Do we help others by what we say?  Or just feel better for getting it off our chest?
  • Does “telling the truth” make us feel superior? – very dangerous!
  • How can we forgive, when we can see someone doing something wrong?
  • Is there someone or something that makes you SO angry?  What can you do about it to make the situation better?  In love and grace?

And of course in challenging others, we first have to reflect on our own lives…

  • what do we do that makes others angry? That makes God sad?
  • and what are we going to do about it?

And all of this is in the context of love – God’s love for us all.  We are all his dear children, and like any parent he wants us to behave well and get along together – but he still loves us.  That love is the basis and foundation for all our relationships.

Makes you think doesn’t it?!

What do you think?

Lord,

sometimes I get so angry.

I see things happening

that I don’t want to happen,

that I don’t think should be happening,

and I get cross.

Lord,

help my anger to be the right kind,

an anger that doesn’t boil over and cause harm,

but makes me do something to help.

And

I acknowledge also,

the things I do that make others angry,

and make you sad,

the things that they can see wrong in me.

Thank you Lord,

for your love,

your mercy,

and your forgiveness.

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