Good Words vs Bad Words Published week of June 21, 2020
I remember learning from my peers during childhood the old adage, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me”. Well, that certainly is not in the Bible and is far from the truth. Spoken words can do a world of damage, especially if they are said out of anger. Angry words have ruined countless marriages and friendships. Words spoken in anger have caused churches to split, jobs to be lost, and spirits to be broken and scarred. Words hurt, crush and wound . . . especially words spewed in anger. In light of the seriousness of this problem, Paul’s command in Ephesians 4:26 seems puzzling when he says in essence, 'In your anger do not sin.' Why is Paul telling believers to be angry? This is a literal command, quoted from Psalm 4:4. Paul uses the reference to Psalm 4 to say that as Christians we should be angry about some things, but even then we must be careful that it does not become sinful anger. There is a fine line between being so passive that we ignore sin and allowing our anger to boil over into an excessive reaction.
I believe it is helpful to keep in mind that in this letter Paul is writing from prison, he is telling us specific ways to put off our old way of life and put on the newness of Christ Jesus. Think about it, one characteristic of the world is not getting angry about the right things. The carnal man sees sin that destroys people and does nothing. This apathy is not of God.
God hates sin and He displays His wrath against it. Sin destroys people; God would not be loving or righteous if He did not hate sin. Therefore, if we want to be godly people, we must also hate sin. This begins with the sin in our own lives, and extends to the sin and injustice we see in the world. However, as Paul reminds us, in our righteous anger, we must be careful not to fall into sin and give Satan an opportunity.
Heavenly Father, I know that You hate sin. I also know that You love people. Dear God help me to have a righteous anger towards all sin. Furthermore, help me also to have and display Your deep love and compassion for people. Lord, I want to love the sinner but hate the sin. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.