Good relationships at St Johns Presbyterian ChurchA Sunday school teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her five and six-year olds. After explaining the commandment to “Honor thy father and mother,” she asked, “Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?”

Without missing a beat one little girl answered, “Thou shall not kill!”

Isn’t it true that so often we get the angriest at those closest to us? Sometimes we end up saying words or lashing out at family in ways that we never would with other people. Unhealthy outbursts can slowly erode our relationships. “Thou shalt not kill” is a good place to start, but for healthier families, we can take it much further.

The apostle Paul once wrote, “Be angry, but do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger.”

In some families it often works better to ‘sleep on it’ and then talk it out the next morning. I believe Paul’s point is twofold. One, do not allow your anger to lead you to hurt yourself or others. Two, do not harbor it inside too long.

When angry, may you take the time to sit down and talk it out. And, may you express your disappointment or hurt in ways that can ultimately lead to reconciliation. Please ask for help if you need it.

Let us pray: God of Grace, we admit that we expect a lot from those we love. Sometimes we expect too much. We want healthy relationships. We want to give and receive love and admiration and joy. Help us, Lord. Give us the patience and the courage that we need to channel our anger into appropriate conversation. May our families be at the center of your grace and love. Amen.