Have you ever heard the saying, “Nip it in the bud?” If you remember the Andy Griffith show then you remember the character Barney Fife often saying, “Nip it, nip in the bud.” What this saying means is to stop it before it gets out of control and that is just what God is saying to us as we read Ephesians 4:26-27.
“Be angry and yet do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the Devil an opportunity.”
This phrase, “Do not let the sun go down on your anger,” implies taking the action of forgiveness quickly before the day is through. There is a progression of anger, which starts with unforgiveness and ends with murder, remember Cain killing his brother Abel? When you do not nip anger in the bud it will lead you to slandering the person and can possibly lead to murder.
I have found three reasons to nip anger in the bud quickly, the first is to not give the Devil an opportunity into your life. To give the Devil opportunity in this instance means to open the door of your heart, allowing him to influence you to carry your anger further. When you do not forgive quickly that anger turns into bitterness, festering inside you until you blow up, possibly harming the person.
The second reason is to encourage unity. Anger causes division. What if the Pastor’s wife doesn’t acknowledge you on Sunday morning? You can choose to be offended, allowing division to come into your church, or you can choose to believe the best, perhaps she was feeling sick that day and it was all she could do just to show up. Nip your anger of this offence in the bud and choose to believe the best, continuing in the unity of our faith.
The third and most important reason to me, is for a clear conscience before God. The Devil uses anything he can to get space between you and God but Romans 2:15 says, we have a conscience that will bear witness to us either accusing or defending or actions and thoughts. We must learn to listen to our conscience while the Spirit of God is speaking in order to nip distance between you and God in the bud.
Father, help me to listen to my conscience to not allow anything between You and me, to keep in the unity of the Church and to not give the Devil an opportunity into my life. In the name of Jesus, amen