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Foot in the Door!
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I grew up with two brothers. We lived in two acres of heavily wooded property—complete with chickens, dogs, cats and various other animals. There were no video games, cell phones, computers and we didn’t have a lot of money. What we did have was our imaginations, our bikes, an awesome tree-house, some pvc pipes, rope, a saw, a hammer, some nails, a permanent marker and if we were lucky, some cardboard.

We had a blast! We would do all sorts of things; have all kinds of adventures and get into all sorts of mischief—and I’ve got the scars to prove it. As was to be expected, our games sometimes turned somewhat physical and as my father used to always say “the problem with horse-playing is that someone always ends up taking it too far.” That was usually me.

In our playing, I would inevitably commit a “crime” and run away to escape capture and certain sentencing. When that happened, I would always run into the safety of our shared bedroom and someone would be close on my heels. If I could make it into our room and close and lock the door, I was home free and I could barricade myself there until they got tired of knocking and threatening. But many times someone would be able to get their foot in the door and keep it from being closed and locked; it was just several inches, but it was enough to help them get a hand, or arm in the door and start swinging. When they got their foot in the door, it was inevitable that the door would be forced open from the other side.

The Apostle Paul, in the New Testament Biblical book of Ephesians wrote to another family who were also having a difficult time getting along. I’m sure you’ll quickly see the relevance of what he wrote to your life as well: “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. ‘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” (4:25-27).

Three Principles

In this passage we find three principles to keep the devil from gaining a foothold and causing more chaos in our lives:

Don’t lie to somebody. Tell them the truth (v. 25). No matter how difficult this is, communicate the truth to them in a respectful, truthful manner.

Realize that anger is not a sin—it’s what you do with it that matters (v.26). Anger is simply a warning light on your emotional dashboard . . . how will you address it?

Recognize, name & begin to address your anger as soon as possible. (v. 26) In this way, you take away its’ power to control you. It’s easy to recognize the true source of the problem days, months and years down the road—but the real key is to recognize and begin to address it as soon as possible.

We all live in a sinful, imperfect world with sinful, imperfect people—you included; and because of that, it’s certain that we will have conflict with others. When we do, let’s not allow the devil to get his foot in the door of our hearts and minds and cause more unnecessary chaos, confusion and pain. Learn God’s way to be good and angry.

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By Omar Miranda. Copyright © 2014 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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