Lent Day 13–On Coffee Beans and Anger

Long after the teacher had concluded her example of coffee beans in a glass of water, I continued to watch the visual as it sat on the sidelines through the rest of her talk.  No one probably noticed it but me.  Even now, I’m not exactly sure I remember what the visual was demonstrating—maybe something about being “in the world but not of it.”  I can’t remember because I was learning a totally different and far more powerful lesson.

As I watched, the cold water—once clear and pure—began to reveal that the coffee beans were leaching coffee into the water.  Clean and clear became stained as the coffee coloration arose from the beans and permeated the water.  While many would think it was nothing more than “every analogy falls apart when pressed,” the discoloration made me think about the opposite of whatever the teacher’s point was. 

I began to think about how even when we are unaware, a little anger and bitterness can flavor our entire lives.

In Ephesians 4:17-32, the apostle Paul talks about living as we’ve been taught.  Paul says, “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds;  and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (verses 22-24).

Don’t even harbor a tiny bit of sin because it has no place in the new self.  Like coffee beans in cold water, we can deceive ourselves into believing that sin and anger and bitterness can be contained—compartmentalized in an otherwise new and spiritual nature.  Then Paul says it:

“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.  Ephesians 4:26-27

While we may view it as being containment of hazardous waste (anger, bitterness, rage, malice), these things can pollute our lives in hidden ways.  That’s why Paul says to get rid of it all (v 31).  Don’t contain it; don’t hide it; don’t compartmentalize it; and whatever you do, don’t give the devil that kind of leverage in your life. 

As we continue our walk on the Way of Holiness, take a moment to ask, “Is there a coffee bean hiding in my soul?”

Categories Chapel Worship/News | Tags: | Posted on March 23, 2011

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