And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil. Ephesians 4:26-27
I remember when I was newly married, I tried to impress my husband by preparing him a special meal. I worked hard in the kitchen preparing a meal from scratch that included a menu of items that I enjoyed. When it came time to eat, I dished out the food and called my husband down for dinner. To my disappointment, he was not as excited about the meal as I was (little Miss Newlywed didn’t think about asking him what he liked). I remember getting VERY upset and letting that anger stir up inside of me. I rehearsed the scenario over and over and over in my mind until I was more angry about it than when it first happened.
Not too long after being separated in rooms for what seemed like forever in newlywed bliss time (but actually an hour or two real world time), I decided to approach him and talk. You see, in that time I got down on my knees and prayed. God is the ultimate marriage counselor. I remember just how powerful this verse was at that moment. Both of us were in the wrong but I was not willing to move forward with my marriage allowing anger to stay in my heart. And I sure was not willing to let the enemy have a hold on my marriage. NO WAY!
From that day forward, we committed to what we called the “48- hour rule.” If there was a conflict between us, we had 48 hours to talk about it. Not long after we set that rule, we moved to the “24-hour rule” (more like before bed) so we learned to work through our issues. Once we talk through it we are never to bring it up again, especially to use as fuel in another conflict. We forgive and we move on. Life is too short to live in anger.
This rule has worked so well in our 15+ years of marriage that we have also encouraged our kids to let go of their anger before they lay their heads down to rest. It teaches them to work through their issues sooner than later. It also teaches them that anger and conflict are a normal part of life; it is how we handle it that makes the difference.
Is there someone who has hurt you in some way that you need to let go of? Is there something that you keep talking about or thinking about over and over again that makes you angrier and angrier? Have you prayed about it as much as you have talked or thought about it? My friend, I encourage you to ponder on this verse and ask the Lord to guide you on how you should handle the situation. Consider using the “24-hour rule” in your relationships. Be set free!