Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry. Ephesians 4:26
In his graveside tribute to a famous Dutch scientist, Albert Einstein didn’t mention their scientific disputes. Instead, he recalled the “never-failing kindness” of Hendrik A. Lorentz, a beloved physicist known for his easy manner and fair treatment of others. “Everyone followed him gladly,” Einstein said, “for they felt he never set out to dominate but always simply to be of use.”
Lorentz inspired scientists to put aside political prejudice and work together, especially after World War I. “Even before the war was over,” Einstein said of his fellow Nobel Prize winner, “[Lorentz] devoted himself to the work of reconciliation.”
Working for reconciliation should be the goal of everyone in the church as well. True, some conflict is inevitable. Yet we must do our part to work for peaceful resolutions. Paul wrote, “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry” (Ephesians 4:26). To grow together, the apostle advised, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs” (v. 29).
Finally, said Paul, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (vv. 31–32). Turning from conflict whenever we are able helps build God’s church. In this, indeed, we honor Him.
How can God help us deal with conflict? To honor Him and your church, what conflict should you let go?
Loving God, when I face conflict, remind my heart to turn my anger over to You.
As believers in Christ, Paul tells us we’re to live differently from non-believers. Our lives are to be holy—set apart and devoted to God (Ephesians 4:20–24). Our speech is to be characterized by words that are truthful and that help, edify, build up, encourage, and benefit others (vv. 25, 29). Through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, we’ll put away unwholesome and abusive language, along with bitter, angry, harsh, slanderous, or malicious words (vv. 29–31). How we forgive others is the defining virtue of the believers in Jesus. We’re to forgive as God has forgiven us (v. 32; Colossians 3:13). The evidence that we’re forgiven by the Father is when we’re willing to forgive others. The forgiven believer in Jesus is a forgiving person (Matthew 18:21–35; Luke 7:36–50).
Visit ChristianUniversity.org/ML502 to learn more about dealing with conflict.