When God created man, He gave him and all mankind one gift He has never taken away from us, no matter how badly we abuse it. That gift is free will. When right and wrong are presented to us, we can choose to do either what is right, or what is wrong. We have witnessed recently what happens when even one individual chooses to do something that is tragically wrong. God desires us to choose what is right, but He never forces us to do so.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence or domestic abuse hap¬pens because people make choices to do other than the right they ought to do. Spousal abuse, child abuse and elderly abuse are all forms of domestic violence. The abuse can be physical, verbal, emotional or mental abuse. The sad truth is that all of these forms of abuse hurt deeply the person being abused.
The Bible gives us a good formula to deal with and rid our homes of domestic violence. It is found in Ephesians 4:26-32. Since God created men and women, it only makes sense that He would give us a good instruction manual (the Bible) that shows us how to best treat each other. Because we have free will, we can choose to read, learn and obey His instructions, or to try to do it our own way. We are not free to choose the consequences of our choices.
Verse 26 tells us “In your anger, do not sin.” Anger is the source of almost all violence. Most often, when we are angry, we take that anger out on innocent people, people God has placed in our lives to love dearly. There are things in life that should and do make us angry. The Bible doesn’t call anger a sin. The sin is in how we choose to deal with that anger. We can talk it out, walk it out, or pray it out, but we cross the line when we choose to swear it out, punch it out, or scream it out. Most often it is a wife or children who are most deeply hurt by our anger. If anger is an issue in your life, get help. Verse 27 tells us not to let the sun set on our anger. Deal with it quickly.
Verse 29 is quite possibly one of the most challenging verses in the Bible. It says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” How many unkind, unhelpful words do we say to the people we love every day? Words not only hurt, but they can leave deep scars that can last a lifetime. If we can choose to get rid of the anger within us, it becomes much easier to control the words that come out of our mouths.
Finally, Paul tells us in verse 32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” When compassion replaces anger, good words come out of our mouths, and we find it easier in our hearts to forgive the hurts others bring into our lives. Some of those hurts are unintentional, while others seem like a full-blown attack on us. Forgiveness is the refreshing water that extinguishes the fuse to the dynamite that could destroy a relationship, family and home.
The most beautiful picture in any community is the picture of a happy home, with healthy, happy relationships in the home. You can choose to make your home a happy home, where love abounds and anger disappears quickly. If you are in a home where abuse is happening to you, you can also choose to leave until the home is a safe place again. Don’t let abuse continue. If you are a victim of abuse, find a pastor, a police officer or the fine people at Another Way, and get yourself and/or your children to a safe place. May we strive for Page to be a place known for the happy homes in our community.