My dog is a little theif - he is constantly stealing our stuff and chewing on it. Most of the time I can fish it away from him, but when he takes it under our bed I just leave it because it's too hard to deal with. Well, I looked under the bed yesterday and, uh, things have piled up. It's so bad. Maybe I shouldn't have let it go so long, and it wouldn't have gotten so bad. Well...the same thing happens when we ignore our anger, it builds up to resentment and becomes a much bigger issue than it ever should have been. We need to do the hard work to deal with our emotions and our anger, and resolve them with others. The status quo is not true peace, not as God defines it.
What if I told you that God could be seen in the most ordinary things every day?
What if I told you that every day, ordinary events could teach us extraordinary eternal truths?
Would you believe me?
Hi, I’m BJ Sipe – and you’re listening to the Set Your Mind Above Podcast.
I am a Christian, a preacher, a husband, and a father.
Thanks for tuning in!
One of these days we’ll have a full month of consistently dropping on Wednesdays like we’re supposed to! Thanks for your patience this week – this one was actually a scheduled late drop. My son Dane turned three years old on Tuesday, and I took the day to celebrate and be with him which pushed everything back one day as far as my work schedule goes. I still can’t believe that my son is three. When we arrived in Danville almost four years ago, we were just a family of three: myself, my wife, and our little 6-month-old daughter Ava. Fast forward to today, we are now a family of five with the additions of Dane and Finley. Well, I guess if you throw the dog in there, we are now a family of six – he sort of counts. I’m going to go ahead and just count him because quite honestly, the dog is just about as much work as any of our other kids right now lol. As I am currently typing this, I am hearing my wife from the other room saying, “Ollie, no. Drop it. No, Ollie, drop it!” Undoubtedly, he has run off with something else that doesn’t belong to him that he has claimed for his own. This is a daily struggle in our house – multiple times every day, that little runt scurries off with someone’s toy, someone’s socks, some bit of trash or toilet paper, you get the idea. Most of the time he makes a b-line for under one of our chairs or under Finley’s crib, which I am then able to quickly fish out whatever it was that he stole and has been chewing on. However, where he takes his most treasured items that he has stolen is underneath our king-sized bed frame. The dog is just small enough to get on his belly and army crawl underneath the frame that is no more than 7 inches off the ground. I frequently refer to this area as the Bermuda Triangle – because once stuff goes underneath the bed, you’re not going to see it again. When there is something that I can’t find, I assume Ollie has stolen it and taken it to his secret get away under the bedframe. It’s been months since I’ve cleaned stuff from under our bed because it’s such a hassle – I have to move the heavy mattress and box spring, then step between all the slats to try and clean up his treasure trove he has tucked away. So, I just leave it alone, because it’s out of sight, out of mind – what’s the worst that can happen? Well, yesterday morning once again the dog snagged one of my ties this time from my closet and drug it under our bed. He was still halfway through crawling under the frame by the time I got to him, so I got on my belly and quickly reached under and grabbed what I thought was my tie in his mouth and pulled it out. Not the tie, it was one of my longer socks. By this time he had gotten away from me and out of my reach, so I grabbed my flashlight to see where he had taken it to. I got back flat on my stomach and put my head against the ground to look underneath and…guys. It was baffling. There was so much junk that he has stolen that was buried underneath our bed! Trash, slippers, pieces of toys, boxers, socks, my tie, a hat, just…gross. It’s going to be a job I take on later this evening after I glove up, but I learned a valuable lesson here. When you just let stuff sit under the surface and ignore it for a long time, eventually it all piles up and becomes a big deal. It’s better just to put in the work and deal with things right away rather than ignoring them.
I am assuming at this point that you are already picking up what I’m putting down, or at least making some of your own applications from the story that I have just shared with you. For today’s podcast, I want to focus in on mostly one thing in particular – and that is our anger. Anger is a natural, human emotion – yet in all things we are called to have self-control. Scripture would tell us, “Be angry, and do not sin” in Ephesians 4:26 (we’ll come back to this verse in just a moment). That does not mean that all anger is legitimate. The Lord would question Jonah and ask him, “do you have the right to be angry?” when God spared the people of Nineveh. There is righteous anger, and then there is the anger of man that does not produce the righteousness of God (see James 1:19-20). The trouble is that sometimes even when we have the right to be angry, we do not handle our anger in the right way. Let’s go back to the text in Ephesians 4:26-27, where it says, “Be angry and do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, and don’t give the devil an opportunity.” What does Paul mean when he says, “don’t let the sun go down on your anger?” Some take this quite literally to mean Paul is condemning anyone who has not resolved all of their issues with someone before they go to bed. I don’t believe that is Paul’s point, or even attainable in many circumstances. Rather, Paul is teaching us to not ignore our emotions or bury them deep under the surface – you need to work to resolve them, especially anger. Why? Because the longer you harbor anger inside of you unresolved, the more and more opportunity you will give Satan to tempt to act on that anger in an unrighteous way. You can keep the lid on the pot of something that is boiling for only so long before it overflows. Now don’t misunderstand me – I believe Scripture teaches it is perfectly good and righteous to give yourself some time to get control of your emotions before you address an issue, I’m not suggesting you never give something or someone a few days or weeks before revisiting a matter (see Proverbs 29:11). But what Scripture is suggesting is that if you don’t deal with your anger in a godly way and in a timely manner, it will carry over into bitterness. Hebrews 12:14-15 states, “Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness—without it no one will see the Lord. Make sure that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness springs up, causing trouble and defiling many.” We are called to pursue peace with all, in as much as it depends upon us (see Romans 12:18). However, bitterness ensures that peace is not possible. Anger gives way to bitterness, and where there is bitterness there is always trouble and constant quarreling. You don’t want to be in the position that you continue to harbor anger and resentment towards someone, until one day you uncover it and it has become a much bigger issue than it ever needed to be. Relationships are destroyed in this way – relationships that overwise would have been mended and reconciled had not we not suppressed our anger and dealt with it in a godly way. The worst part of all of this? Sometimes we think peace is simply keeping the status quo. So long as they don’t talk to me and I don’t talk to them, we have peace. That’s not peace, not how God has described it. Consider Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:22-24, “But I tell you, everyone who is angry with his brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Whoever insults his brother or sister, will be subject to the court. Whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be subject to hellfire. So if you are offering your gift on the altar, and there you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled with your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.” My friends, if you are feuding with someone, especially a fellow brother or sister in Christ…burying it and ignoring it is not the pathway to peace. In a godly way and at the appropriate time, you need to expose it and deal with it. How can we sit across the way from someone who we are called to unity with in Christ, and together lift up our voices in worship to God, yet harbor anger and resentment towards that same one? I would suggest Jesus’ words have application even today – if possible before you even go into worship, make it right with your brother. The longer you put it off, the worse it will get for you and for everyone else. Is it hard – yes. But the contrary is much harder, and much more dangerous. I want to confess to those who are listening that this is something I am continuing to learn myself. This is a lesson that the Spirit continues to convict me of in my own heart. May God help us all to learn how, in a godly manner, to deal with all of our emotions in a way that helps us, helps others, and glorifies our patient and loving God who calls us to peace.
Thank you for tuning in for this week’s episode, and I would invite you back every Wednesday for a brand-new episode each week. If you haven’t already, be sure to find us on Facebook for future announcements or even some special video sessions. If you have benefited from this podcast, share it with someone else that you think would benefit from it also. Until next time, know that I love you, that God loves you, and may we all each & every day set our minds above.