18th November 2011

Calm Down

“Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.”
Ephesians 4:26 (NIV UK)

One of my favourite stories is about Saladin. Perhaps you have heard of him. He was the main opponent of Richard the Lionheart during the Third Crusade.

Often he did the unexpected. There was one incident when Saladin ordered several of his generals to retaliate in battle but they refused because they thought to do so would be a mistake. Saladin was furious and decided to have them executed. But his fury did not last long, and he had a change of heart. A fresh consignment of delicious apricots arrived at his magnificent tent, and he invited the reticent generals to share in this fruit feast with him. His anger abated and both parties were reconciled.

How do you respond when someone goes against your instructions? Or if someone contradicts you openly? Do you feel you can be justifiably angry? How quickly do you fly off the handle and give in to your anger? With Saladin it appears that his initial response was to lose control, but then he regained it, and turned his anger into an act of reconciliation.

Paul did not want unbridled anger to destroy relationships within the church in Ephesus. Let’s not nurse our wrath beyond sunset. A Christian friend explained to me recently that she and her husband have a major agreement in their marriage: “never go to bed angry”. It is good advice. It does not mean we should not talk about conflict issues, but it does mean that our anger should not intimidate the other person involved.

I love how Saladin used something tasty to break the ice, so to speak. Perhaps we can’t have a feast of apricots, but we can make a cup of tea or coffee and sit down and chat. We can even add a chocolate biscuit.

Don’t stay angry. It’s not good for you or for anyone else.

Once again, Father, we come to you in need of your help. Help us through your Spirit to control our anger and seek ways of reconciliation. In Jesus’ name.

Study by James Henderson

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