This is the Sunday morning message for Sunday, February 8th, 2009.
Fireproof your Marriage part 3
Ephesians 4:26-27 ISV – 26 “Be angry, yet do not sin.” Do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 and do not give the devil an opportunity to work.
We are continuing our series entitled, “Fireproof your marriage,” this morning.
The video that we have watched is of course a modern day parable about a couple who are seemingly at the end of their marriage because of hurt and infidelity. But I hope you noticed that the one who was wounded, the husband, did not return wounds back to his wife, but loved her inspite of the adultery, the lies, and everything else.
This is a great example of God’s love for us, and we could look at that this morning. But instead, I want to look at the wounds that we often give one another in marriage.
In fact, it is impossible I believe to go through your marriage without their being wounded by your spouse. We often have this fairy tale of how marriage is going to be, but in the end, sometimes we live a nightmare.
We want to address those wounds this morning, and seek the Lord to see if he has answers in His word about them.
And He does, in so many places throughout Scripture. But this morning, I want to dig into a passage that maybe has not commonly been looked at when it comes to marriage. I think that God has things to say to us and the wounds we receive from our spouses.
Let’s look into the passage this morning.
When we are wounded, it is alright to be angry.
Ephesians 4:26a ISV – Be angry…
I’ve actually heard many a preacher say that it is a sin to be angry. Well, the Scripture doesn’t teach this. Here in this passage we see it says to, “be angry.” In the Greek, this is called a, “permissive, imperative.” It doesn’t mean that it is a command to be angry, but an allowance for anger. Some translations translate as, “In your anger…”
When we are wounded by our spouse, the one who is suppose to love us the most, those wounds can hurt and can be very deep. Religion may tell you to deny your anger, and act like it doesn’t exist. But God in this passage has made allowances for the anger.
It is important to understand that while God does allow the angry feelings when you are wounded by your spouse, or anyone for that matter, He commands us in Scripture to deal with it in a godly matter.
Let’s look at some ways that we are to deal with it in our text.
Ephesians 4:26 ISV – Be angry, yet do not sin.
Anger must be dealt with properly. We are not too allow it to consume us, and neither are we suppose to lash out in anger.
A few of truths about anger:
• If you do not acknowledge it and hold it in, you can become bitter and resentful, which is sin.
• But if you lash out and return the wound back to your spouse, then you are sinning as well.
• You have to both acknowledge the anger and respond in a way that is not sinning both against God and against your spouse.
I may be a Pastor, but I do not have a perfect marriage. In fact, I struggle with this last truth concerning anger. How do I respond to my spouse, or to God for that matter, without wounding her and grieving the Lord?
I think the example of Jesus would be good to look at. This is a time when He was wounded by the Pharisees. Let’s look.
Mark 3:1-5 ISV – 1 Jesus went into the synagogue again, and a man with a paralyzed hand was there. 2 The people watched Jesus closely to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, intending to accuse him of doing something wrong. 3 He said to the man with the paralyzed hand, “Come forward.” 4 Then he asked them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do evil on the Sabbath, to save a life or to kill it?” But they were silent. 5 Jesus looked around at them with anger, for he was deeply hurt because of their hardness of heart. Then he said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” The man held it out, and his hand was restored to health. 6 Immediately the Pharisees, along with the Herodians, went out and began to plot against him to kill him.
Why was Jesus angry and hurt here? It was because of the hardness of their hearts. They were looking to trap Jesus, instead of rejoicing in the fact that He brought healing and freedom to the man with the paralyzed hand. What was His response? Healing.
In the video, we saw that the man’s actions and words to his unfaithful wife did not come out of his hurt, but out of his love for her.
In the same way, don’t react out of hurt, but react out of unconditional love, which only comes through Christ working in us.
It is reacting through Christ in us, and not our wounded flesh that brings the healing.
You may say, “That is fine Pastor, but how does healing come?”
Well, let’s go back to Scripture.
James 5:16a ISV – Therefore, make it your habit to confess your sins to one another and to pray for one another, so that you may be healed.
Confess that you’ve been wronged, or you have done the wrong, then you and your wife pray and seek the Lord’s wisdom, grace, and forgiveness, so that you both may be healed.
This may be more than just doing it one time. Notice the ISV says, “Make it your habit.” Make a decision each day to forgive your spouse, no matter the wrong.
Settle the matter as quickly as possible.
Ephesians 6:26b ISV – Do not let the sun go down on your wrath.
It is important to settle the issue with your spouse as quickly as possible. In fact, here the text says not to let the sun go down on your wrath.
Why do you suppose the Lord commands this?
Well, the longer we let the wound fester, the more resentment and bitterness sets in and the harder it is to forgive.
One of my favorite theologians you all know, you just might not be aware he is a theologian. His name is Barney Fife. Barney has a saying, “nip it in the bud!” And that is what settling the issue with your spouse does when you endeavor to do settle it quickly.
Settling the issue quickly is important because it leads us to our third point.
Forgiveness shuts the door on the devil trying to work on your marriage.
Ephesians 6:27 ISV – and do not give the devil an opportunity to work.
The devil is after marriages. If he can’t destroy them through adultery and divorce, then he will wound them through unforgiveness, resentment, bitterness, and unhappiness.
When we forgive our spouse of the wound they have done, not only does this bring healing, but it shuts the door on the devil to continue working on that wound, and thereby causing problems between the two of you.
There is so much that we can continue to cover, but we are going to stop here.
We will be wounded by our spouse. Not only that, but we will also wound our spouse from time to time. Don’t hold on to the hurt, allowing it to fester, but acknowledge your anger to your spouse, pray for one another, forgive one another, and ask the Lord to heal the wound. Do it quickly, before the day is through, don’t allow the wound to fester and give the devil a foothold.
The devil wants to destroy marriages in this church, but God wants to make them stronger. Let’s not only hear the word preached this morning, but be obedient and see what God can do in our marriages.