There is no relationship in which you don’t fight at some point. More often than not, the closer you are to someone, the more likely fights become. When you intimately know someone, you carry an awesome ability to build that person up, or to utterly destroy them.
“‘In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”
Whether you are a Christian or not, I believe this verse contains a concept that applies to anyone’s relationship: long distance, close distance, married, engaged, or dating.
Over the next three posts I’m going to unpack that passage and explain how you can use its principle in your relationship.
“In your anger do not sin”
“Wait, I thought anger was bad? And what is sin?” you ask.
Anger itself is not wrong, or bad. Anger is born from hurt. To fix the pain, we want to destroy the source of that hurt. That is a baaaad thing when it’s your significant other. But in the right circumstances, anger can be good.
Anger at injustice is what fuels people to strive so hard to make our world a better place. It gives us the passion needed to seek change and do whatever it takes to bring that change about.
For example, a woman who is angry that children are left to starve on the streets will fight to change their circumstances. A man who feels no anger at the circumstances of those children won’t lift a finger. If he does, it is to look good; to endear himself in the eyes of others.
The Bible goes into a lot of detail on what sin is, but essentially it’s this:
“Sin is any action that harms the relationship we have with God and/or another person.”
Today I want to hone in on the “harming a relationship with another person” part of sin.
To understand sin that way, and in the context of your romantic relationship, the earlier passage from Ephesians could read: “In your anger do not say or do anything that harms your relationship with your Significant Other.”
Huh. Makes sense, hey? Rules out name calling, biting sarcasm, hateful comments, and a long list of hurtful words/actions that are so easy to say/do when you’re mad.
It’s important to know that it’s okay to be hurt and angry at things your SO says or does. But it is your responsibility, and yours alone, to decide how you treat them back. To forgive them (whether they ask or not), or to condemn them.
Brittany and I love reading books on relationships together, and I believe the most powerful book on how to have an amazing relationship is the Bible. Why the Bible? A few reasons: one, it is chock full of great tidbits like:
“A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails…”
Two, the Bible is the story of the relationship between God and humankind. It looks something like this:
- God creates humans. (Gen 1:26-27)
- We reject and hate on Him. (Gen 3)
- He spends 4,000 years showing us how hurt He is; that He still loves us, but there’s nothing we can do to reconcile. The penalty is death. All the while we still hate on Him. (First 39 books of the Bible)
- He then sends His Son, Jesus Christ to reconcile us. (John 3:16-18)
- Jesus is God (List of Verses)
- Jesus willingly pays that penalty by being crucified. (21 Verses on what Jesus did by dying)
- Jesus (God) offers us a free way back to Him. (John 14:1-11)
- Those who accept that free way get to spend eternity hanging out with and glorifying an awesome God. (John 3:16)
- Jesus tells His disciples to love like He does. (John 13:34-35)
The Bible is an epic tale of going the extra mile for love. Jesus lived his life demonstrating that love without compromise, to the point of dying one of the most brutal deaths ever imagined by man, crucifixion.
Just imagine: a world full of people loving like Jesus loved. Wouldn’t that be grand?
On to Part 2.