by Danetta Kellar
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Ephesians 4:24-27
I was struggling with a sin I just could not shake, and I was feeling extremely sorry for myself. I actually felt victimized by this pattern I could not seem to break. I cried to my mentor and she said words I will never forget.
“Until you hate this sin as much as God does, you will never let it go. You love it.”
The truth of her statement made me hot under the collar. I wanted to scream in defense of myself, my poor, pitiful self stuck in a habit I just couldn’t seem to stay away from. But the words she had spoken struck a chord deep within me and left me shaking. She was exactly right.
There is simply no force more powerful than truth. And there is no greater power to change lives.
But in my experience, every time someone has told me the hard truth, unadulterated and without sugar to sweeten it, I have been angry. Most times, anyway. Inside, in the place where people cannot see, I have been downright mad. I usually smile and appear to receive it, but honestly, in the secret place, I am usually resistant and offended. The truth offends.
But in the end, it finds its way down deep to my inmost parts, and there it takes root. I look one day and find it is a tall, thriving tree, and I am swinging carefree from its branches, free from the lie. I then thank God for the one who was brave enough, who loved me enough, to wound me with the truth.
I desire truth more than I desire my own way, and that has made all the difference. The anger subsides, and the truth prevails. And then I am thankful.
This is the way of truth. It can hurt at first, but in its sharpness it bores deeply into the human soul and lodges itself in the hidden spaces of the heart, taking root and waiting for sunlight.
Many years may pass before its first tender shoots make their way to the surface of a life wrought with pain and deception.
But truth always prevails for those who hunger for it.
Ephesians 4:24-27 is not usually quoted together in its entirety. Most often we are either admonished to speak the truth to one another, or not to sin in our anger. But rarely are we told both together. It is deeply significant that these two instructions are placed together. They should not be separated, for often the speaking of truth to one another causes anger.
If you must speak truth, do it gently and in love.
If truth is spoken to you and it makes you angry or offended, go to God and process it with Him.
Ask Him to show you how to handle it. Release your anger to Him before you sleep tonight and entrust Him with the care of your soul.
If you have spoken truth to a loved one, be patient and prayerful while it grows in the secret place.
God, please cause us to hunger for truth in the inmost parts. Help us release our anger to you and look to your power to change our hearts. Make us gentle and gracious truth-speakers, and may we not give the devil a foothold in our lives. Amen.