Dealing with Frustration
Eph. 4:25 So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. 26 Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not make room for the devil.
Paul makes this comment right after discussing holiness. There is an expectation that God’s holy people will be those who learn how to deal with frustrations in life. The reality is that there will always be circumstances and relationships that may be deemed a bit difficult. In the midst of those struggles we are not to spread any falsehoods about anyone. In other words — don’t gossip. Sometimes it’s all just a matter of perspective. One person may see a situation one way and someone else another. There is no need to demonize anyone, but there is a need to speak openly and honestly with one another. If we are to work and function as the body of Christ we must recognize that we are related to one another. If we are making another member of the body miserable, the whole body will be miserable.
The situation may even cause anger, but there is no need to sin in the midst of that anger. When we give too much space to our anger, then we allow the enemy to have a foothold in our lives. This can begin to steal our joy and leave us miserable and frustrated. This is certainly not what is intended for God’s holy people.
There will always be people who are a part of our body who will cause us to become frustrated. The biggest question for us is how we will deal with that frustration. There are good ways, and there are bad ways. Mostly, I think that we tend to avoid the situation and any type of conflict. Somehow we think that will make things better. The problem is that this may actually lead to worse behaviors. Instead of confronting the issue with the individual we may go behind their back and talk about them and the problem with many other people. Meanwhile you have damaged the reputation of the other person without them having a chance to speak their opinion or possibly, provide clarity. We are to speak the truth directly to our neighbors because we are to treat one another as members of the same body.
Just because we have a small sore on one part of our body, we don’t just cut off the whole part of the body. That wouldn’t make sense. We would do everything we could to heal that wound so that the whole body could be healthy and functioning well.
Sometimes our closest neighbor who is frustrating us is our spouse. Unfortunately I find that far too many divorces result from people talking with their “friends” about their spouse and then becoming so negative that they can’t find anything good to say, nor a pathway to healing. A whole group of individuals may literally talk one another into a divorce because they feed their negative attitudes. They fail to see that they are connected to their spouse in such a deep way that the gossiping is creating wounds that may scar them for the rest of their lives. Yes, our spouses may do things that drive us crazy, but we are to talk with them and try to work things out. Don’t create space for the enemy to drive such a deep wedge that the woundedness will create a permanent fracture.
This is a holiness issue. God’s holy people are to work at their relationships and working at relationships means talking to those with whom you may have a problem. This is a face to face conversation that will not allow the sun to go down on your anger. God’s holy people work through their differences and learn to partner together for the sake of the body.
Lord, thank you for the reminder and help me to be an instrument of peace. Amen.