by Chris Allen
Ephesians 4:30-32 (NKJV): Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
I’m sure everyone can remember this phrase growing up: “Alright now, it’s time to put that away.” And it would usually come at a time when we weren’t ready to. Paul tells us in the book of Ephesians, that it is now time to put off, put on, and put away: “Now that we have put on the new life of Christ, we should no longer be walking as the Gentiles do, if we have truly learned Christ. We should put off the old self, which belongs to the former way of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and we should be renewed in the spirit of our minds, and to put on the new self, which is created after the likeness of God in true righteousness” (v. 4:17-24, author’s paraphrase). Paul also says that anger has a time limit: “be angry, but sin not, don’t let the sun go down on your anger” (v. 4:26). If we don’t head this advise, we literally give place to the devil. We cannot have true righteousness if we are housing anger because excessive anger does not produce the righteousness of Christ. In fact, it kills righteousness. Therefore, I want to share three righteousness killers that anger produces when we don’t put it away in a timely manner and they will prevent you from truly producing the righteousness of Christ.
- The first righteousness killer, anger produces when we don’t put it away in a timely manner is Bitterness. How many of you remember when we used to have porcelain sinks? If there were a slow drip from the faucet, the sink would start to turn a light yellow, then a brown, then a dirty brownish, black stain would be present. That is what bitterness looks like in the life of a believer. It’s a slow drip that poisons everything in the believer’s life. Nothing grows in bitter waters; the waters become stagnant, and stink. An angry believer will start to become wretched, instead of righteous. When my ex-husband decided he didn’t want to be married anymore at the same time that I was being betrayed by those sisters I thought I was in covenant with, God told me that if I didn’t let it go, I would become a stench in His nostrils and I would die a spiritual death because holding on to that anger would lead me to the second righteousness killer.
- The second righteousness killer is Unforgiveness. God told me to find every scripture that I could find on the heart, which led me to Psalms 4:23 that says, “Above everything else guard your heart with all diligence, because out of it flows the issues of life.” He told me to forgive them; all of them, everyone I believed had hurt me and I had to allow unforgiveness to flow out, so that forgiveness could flow through, and if I didn’t, it would lead me to the final righteousness killer.
- The third righteousness killer is Broken Fellowship. Do you realize that unforgiveness is sin? And when we are in sin, it breaks our fellowship with God. If we are not in fellowship with Him, then we can’t grow in Him, and we can’t produce true righteousness.
In conclusion, we may have the right to be angry, but we do not have the right to stay angry because it will produce righteousness killers in our lives: bitterness, unforgiveness and broken fellowship, which is not what God desires. So turn to your neighbor and say, “Neighbor, it’s time to put that away!”