Sin Through the Glass

7:00 AM

I was doing my work. Normal day, normal paper-pushing. Normal tasks. I was doing some filing in a different office at 4:00 pm on a Friday. Everything seemed quite mundane.

Strident tones interrupted my peaceful office existence.

"Quit it!" It was a man's voice, talking down to someone. Maybe a teenager? Or to a child hitting his brother?
The voice was raised. The tone was harsh, rough, hurtful. Like sandpaper on tender flesh, it grated across my ears. I turned around and through the glass of the office window, I could see the source of such clamor. It was a man, talking to his wife.

A man.
Talking to his wife.

The argument continued. Or maybe it couldn't be called an 'argument' or a discussion.
The man raised his voice again, "you ALWAYS do this! And It's. NEVER. right!" His angry words were staccato-like and stabbing. Even from twenty feet away, I winced at the tone, the force, the roughness of his words. 
The wife looked at him and spoke in a low voice. One unintelligible phrase.
He raises his voice again. All I hear is "ALWAYS! NEVER! STOP! YOU! NEVER!" Ugly, ugly words.

She walks around the car, gets in and slams the door.

"%*#@ you!" says the man.

This same scenario happened three different times. He raged, she listened, she walked away and slammed the door. Five minutes later, she returns and the situation repeats. A 40-year-old man acting like a toddler who didn't get his way. A passive-aggressive 40-year-old woman doing the teenager thing of going in their room and slamming the door like some kind of statement. I was upset that thirty minutes of marital conflict and all this couple succeeded at was tearing each other down. Finally, I finished my task and moved out of earshot. I wish I could say that I was making this story up. It happened. I watched it with horror and disgust. I didn't want to see it. I tried not to listen. But these words sliced through the Friday afternoon silence like a gunshot. I was a helpless observer to a horrible reality-TV drama.

Sin is vile.

I think that we have become so acclimated to 'drama' that we forget how awful it is. We watch TV shows that are based on discord, problems that must be solved in 43 minutes or less. We see arguments and rejoice when someone gets a really good 'last word' or 'zinger.' It's normal. It's okay. Except it's not. You can call it something different; you can dress it up and take it out, but the reality stays the same. Sin is disgusting.

"Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice."
Ephesians 4:31

Outbursts of anger? They're awful. Raised voices? The mark of immaturity.
That boiling, heated, passionate, anger that boils up and then subsides? The Bible calls it 'wrath.' Anger that yells? Clamor. Words that injure another's good name? Slander. And getting to the heart of the matter? A desire to injure... that's called "malice."
Let's call it what it is. SIN.

Don't get me wrong --- I'm all for discussions in marriage. I believe in talking things out. I believe in facing issues head-on. I believe in honesty and difficult conversations and taking time to listen/talk/listen/talk. I believe that sometimes there will be tears, and always there will be kisses & hugs.

I do NOT believe in ugly, sinful anger that yells and rages and destroys.
I do NOT believe in manipulation that slams doors and walks away.

Friday taught me that seeing sin through the glass is so much uglier. And so God sees my sin. And so others see my sin. This is my resolution.

"Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you."
Ephesians 4:32

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