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Ephesians 4:25 – 5:2, Rules for the New Life

There was quite a lot of tension in the communities Paul established. Differences in opinion about how to be community threatened their survival. Debates, arguments, and fights were common. After all, they were creating a new way of being community, a way of being founded on the radical new rules for love and acceptance that Jesus modeled and taught. Dissentions were inevitable; how to resolve them was another story.

I grew up in a culture that always looked on the bright side. Peace, happiness, and harmony through unity were paramount. But it left little room for genuine, justified anger. Sometimes anger is not only justified, but necessary. Without a healthy dose of disgust and anger, slavery might still be legal and women would not vote. Anger that leads to the destruction and breaking down of community can be devastating to a community. But anger that leads to social change can be a very good thing. It is not the absence of anger that makes this world a better place; it is the healthy manifestation of anger that motivates us to change that brings us closer to the kingdom of God on earth that Christ longed for.

Ephesians 4:25 – 5:2

So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil. Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labor and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy. Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.