The Dark Side of Relating
Communicating Boundaries – Part 5
Scripture Reading: Ephesians 4:14-19
Key Verse: Ephesians 4:25-27
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 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.
In my opinion, relating well to my relatives is one of the hardest things I do. They are not all hard but all need attention and work at times. Sometimes it is easier to relate to our friends than our family. Sometimes our family can cause us pain rather than pleasure. If we are honest, sometimes we treat our friends better than we treat our family. One of the funny things that happened to my wife and me as we were driving to Florida several years ago, relates to this. We would see signs, especially in Georgia, advertising restaurants where we could stop and eat. The billboards said: “Come on in, we’ll treat you like family.” We looked at each other and said, “Not going in there, we’ll find a restaurant that will treat us like friends.” Of course, we were having some fun, but there is a little truth to that thought.
We all need to ask ourselves, occasionally, are we treating our family members as well as we are treating our friends? I realize that we don’t normally spend as much time with our friends as we do with our family, but God’s challenges are still the same, we are to put our love into action for everyone… including our family!
Our key verse tells us to put off falsehood. That includes the deception of passive-aggressive behavior: saying “yes” when we really mean “no.” It is not sinful to set a boundary by saying “no” to someone. It is sinful to deceive them by acting like everything is OK when it really isn’t. Not only is it deceitful, it doesn’t give the other person a chance to change their behavior or words, if that is the problem. Our verse also reminds us that we must not let our anger cause us to sin. Anger is not sin, but it can lead us quickly into sin if we don’t get it under control. God can and wants to help; ask Him!
Father, I need your help to be honest about my feelings and to control my anger. In Jesus’ Name, amen.