rules for a preacher circa 1888, rule 6

“Tell everyone in your care what you think wrong in his conduct and temper; and that lovingly and plainly, as soon as may be; else it will fester in your heart.  Make all haste to cast the fire out of your bosom.” 

This rule reminds me of a verse in Ephesians that is highly quoted.

“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. –Ephesians 4:26-27

This beckons back to a time when people had a “peace” to say, you know, “speak now or forever hold your peace.”  Which no one ever says at weddings any more.  But the idea is that if we have something to say then we ought to say it.  Especially when what you have to say comes from a place of love and honest concern for the other person.

Whenever I taught from this verse in Ephesians I always just used the verse in 26, I never tacked on the verse that says, “and do not give the devil a foothold.”  That is to strange, it doesn’t necessarily fit into my line of thinking.  But the other day I was doing some studying on this passage and I realized the significance of this verse.  To give the devil a foothold is to have an open door for evil in your life. Hoarded anger becomes an open door for evil.  Anger that goes un-confessed begins to fester and brew and control more of your life.  This type of anger eventually becomes a dominant force in your life.   Unless this is confessed, it continues to build.

A preacher in 1888 would typically be the moral compass for the town.  People still ask me what I think is right and wrong.  However, the difference between 1888 and 2012 is that pastors have less perceived authority to speak into the lives of society.

What do you think? Have people become too accommodating to share their real thoughts and beliefs with others?    Are you scared to confront your friends if there was an issue in their life?


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