Ask Father Paul

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Answers to your questions about life, religion and the Bible

Pastors get some of the most interesting questions from people they meet and people in their congregations. Here are a few that I have received in my ministry and via email for this column.

 Dear Father Paul:  People (especially my husband and my children) tell me that I am an “angry person” and “hard to live with.”  I vigorously deny that I am often angry when they bring the subject up, but the truth is I am angry a lot of the time.  But doesn’t the Bible say it is OK to be angry in Ephesians 4:26 ...”Be ye angry, and sin not?” — No Name

 Dear No Name:  The verse you quote is one of the most often misused and misunderstood verses in the entire Bible.  As you quote it (from the King James  version published in 1611) it sounds like it is OK for Christians to be angry. Actually, the exact opposite is true.  All of the newer translations (of which there are dozens) make this passage very clear. The New International Version (NIV) says it this way, “in your anger do not sin.”  The New Living Translation (NLT) says it even better, “And don’t sin by letting anger gain control over you.”

The next verse, verse 27, is the key to understanding verse 26.  It says, “For anger gives a mighty foothold to the Devil” (NLT).  So, anger is indeed a sin.

I have found verse 27 to be true for people so many times in my own ministry that I am past counting.  When we are angry ... and I am not talking about the kind of righteous indignation that Jesus showed in Mark 11 when he turned over the money changer’s tables and forcibly drove them out of the temple ... we literally open the door of our heart to the Devil and invite him to come in and dwell there. To the contrary, Jesus in the temple was not acting with unholy emotion, or carnal passion as we so often do. He acted as he did because his great loving heart was deeply grieved at the sin he saw in his father’s house.

 Psychologists and counselors tell us that a person who is often angry has most likely suffered some kind of serious loss or deep disappointment earlier in life ... a loss from which they never properly and thoroughly “grieved” and were healed.  The good news is that we don’t have to live a life of constant anger.  We can be set free from the pain of anger by the “Deliverer” himself ... Jesus.  I urge you to meet soon with a Christian psychologist, counselor or your minister.

 Dear Father Paul: My wife and I have just come into a large inheritance and we are talking about buying a vacation home.  Problem is, she’s a “beach person” and I am a “mountain person.” We’ve been “discussing” this for several months now with no resolution. She won’t budge, and neither will I. We are both Christians.  Any advice? —  L. K.

 Dear L. K.:  Assuming that you have paid the tithe on your new found wealth to your church ... congratulations!  Sorry, just kidding. I couldn’t help myself.

 My advice ... don’t rush into anything. First, invest the money in a solid, conservative investment(s) so it will at least start earning in the interim.  Then, starting this coming summer, rent a vacation home at the beach, then in the fall, rent a vacation home in the mountains.  Do the same thing in 2013.

 I am betting that you will both naturally gravitate over time to one or the other. If you do, go ahead and buy your vacation home. If you do not, continue to rent. There is an awful lot to be said for renting rather than buying. A nice motor home or luxury camper might be another good thing for you to consider.  Good Luck.

 Do you have a question?  Email it to me at paulmassey@earthlink.net and I will try to answer your question in the paper.

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Father Paul Massey is pastor of Church of the Holy Cross in Fayetteville, Ga.  Church of the Holy Cross is a Spirit-filled, Sacramental congregation. You are cordially invited to worship with us this coming Sunday. More information, directions and pod-casts of Father Paul’s Sunday messages are at: www.holycrosschurch.wordpress.com