Tuesday, July 1, 2014
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The idea of teamwork in a marriage isn't really that tough. For example, my wife prepares a meal, which is better than me preparing it because the Bible says, "Blessed are the merciful." So, what do I do? I clear the table and I rinse the dishes. I also eat, but that's not such a bad deal.
Now, around my house I have a title. I'm known as the "mad cleaning man." So I might clear your plate while you're still in mid bite. So you need to keep an eye on that. I like to get my job done! I've been told over the years, "Oh listen, leave the dishes. Don't worry about them now. Come on in the living room with us. The dishes will wait." Well that's true, but that's a terrible idea. I've never known the dishes to rinse themselves and I've never known them to put themselves away. But it is a wise discipline to rinse the dirty dish immediately.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Longer It Waits, The Harder It Gets."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Ephesians 4, and starting with verse 26. "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." Well, there's a biblical clock here on strained relationships. That clock runs out at sundown every day basically. We really shouldn't be hanging on to our anger after the end of the day.
There are those old Western movies, and sometimes the marshal would say, "You better be out of here by sundown!" Well, that's what we're supposed to be saying to any anger, or resentment, bitterness or conflict that comes up. "Get out of here by sundown!" There's a good reason for this. You know those food remnants on dirty dishes which I was talking about? If you deal with them right away they're soft and easy to remove; just kind of scrape them a little bit and they fall right off. But you know what happens if you wait with a dirty plate. You do it two days from now, it turns hard and you've got to scrape and work and it's just tough to remove those little food things there, because they weren't cleaned up right after you ate.
Is that why we call unresolved anger "hard feelings"? That's when the Devil gets an opportunity to enter a marriage, or a parent-child relationship, or a friendship, or a church. I think at the core of most every marriage breakup there was probably an issue that once was small, but it wasn't dealt with when it was small. At the core of broken parent-child relationships or a hurting friendship, or a divided church, there are people who didn't clean up their anger when it first appeared; when it was still small, when it was relatively soft. And it's led to a terrible outcome. The Devil got his place and is using it like crazy now.
Maybe there's a strained relationship in your life right now. Could that be why God wanted us talking about this today? There have been too many sunsets, too many bad feelings you let hang on. It will never be smaller than it is today. I know that it's bigger than it used to be, but this is the smallest it's ever going to be. It will never be easier to address that conflict, that resentment, that anger than it is right now, no matter how hard that might seem. It's only going to get harder. It will only get more costly. You're just going to turn darker and darker inside.
Today is always your best opportunity to go to that person and do whatever it takes to repair things. Apologize if you need to, confront if you need to, pray together, talk it through. You just can't afford the hard spot in your heart that develops from anger that you stuff inside. Anger never stays the same size. Bitterness never stays the same size. It always grows.
Take it from a veteran dish-rinser, there's nothing to gain in waiting. The longer you wait, the harder it gets.