I really do not remember when I was taught the concept, however, I do know I always taught my girls to ‘never go to bed mad’. Walking out of the room and cooling down before you say something you will regret is one thing, but, allowing it to fester and develop in to real ‘soul’ problems between one another is sin. It also can be very hard to live with should a tragedy strike before you resolve an issue. Remember, words out of the mouth cannot go back in any easier than pushing toothpaste back in the tube.
Today is my middle brother Bobby’s birthday. He was killed in a plane crash in 1997. Earlier that day he called me about something to do with the new church our families were helping start. It was a good talk, we laughed and we said “love you” . (I have an earlier blog post about helping children through HARD TIMES). I have always been so thankful that we talked that morning. Two hours later I received the phone call that his plane had catastrophic engine failure and crashed. He was gone in a blink of an eye.
Growing up Bobby picked on me, A LOT! It is safe to say we did not get along and I did not always like him. As adults he actually apologized, I let go of my hard feelings and we became very close and I am so glad. It made me want to make sure my girls, Rebekah and Victoria, did not go through this problem. I wanted them to be close. I had the threat of, “if you two keep arguing I will make you sit facing each other, knees touching, holding hands and smiling for five minutes” as a tool. If they stopped smiling in that five minutes I would add a minute. (I actually used this in elementary school classrooms to stop bickering girls. It really works.)
Bobby was a young 49 years old. He was a strong Christian, a trustee in the new church and very active in his community. The future looked great for him. He was living the good life, very successful and well liked. It is hard when the good die young. Victoria lost a close friend to cancer at 9 years old. One of my nephews died of a brain tumor in his 30’s. No one knows what tomorrow holds; we are not even guaranteed the rest of today. It is important to keep your accounts ‘short’ and to teach your children to do so as well (remember they are watching). I am glad that through the years I taught my girls to resolve issues and never ‘go to bed mad’ as much as is humanly possible.
God’s word says:
Ephesians 4:26 (NIV)
“In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry…”
There will be some accounts that they can not resolve. However, they should have their side in order with God’s word. They should not go to bed angry. Teach them to ‘let it go’. Growing up in our church on New Year’s we had a Watch Night Service. Everyone was given a piece of bread and about 15 minutes before midnight we spent the time going among the members giving each other a piece of bread of our bread and telling them we loved them. It was a ‘love feast’. The idea was to use the time to bury hatchets, apologize and leave the ‘old’ in the old year and start the New Year on right terms.
Keep your accounts short. Your kids are watching. If they see or know your anger towards someone, make sure they see or hear you make it right. Do you have any phone calls or visits you need to make?
This may be your best post yet, and you know that takes a lot for me to say that because I have been moved by all of your posts. Your words hit home with me personally on this, as I am sure they did with many others.
Thanks Gail. It is a hard concept for all of us, especially if the ‘wrong’ is severe and we feel justified in our anger.