Even the Best Advice

Sometimes even the best advice does not work. 

For years I have heard Christian preachers and teachers say something like, “Don’t go to bed angry.” It is based loosely on Ephesians 4:26, which says, “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” 

The advice is to stay up, all night if necessary, to work through your issues. The problem is that sometimes that is horrible advice. The Gottman Institute has spent years researching couples, and some people need a time of “self-soothing” before they can continue in marital conflict. Some people get so overloaded emotionally that they need time to rest, relax and refocus before they can continue handling the conflict in their relationships. Staying up and fighting it out is terrible advice for those people. 

Sure, the Biblical instruction sounds like it must be handled immediately, and often it does. But other conflicts take time. So the teaching is more of a figurative, “keep working on it.” Don’t put the difficulties and frustrations in the past without ever closing the loop on your pain. It would be best not to let one season of your life pass without handling your current anger.    

As Christians, I hope you both dispense and receive good advice. However, we also need to understand that there is no cookie-cutter approach to life. Every situation is unique, and every person handles issues differently. 

While the advice may be good, even the best advice does not always work.   

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