Lord, when harsh words are spoken or tempers flare,
I need to lean on You. In the heat of difficult moments, help
me to be humble, wise, and above all – walk in Your ways.
Series Focus: “Resurrecting Hope in the Midst of Life’s Storms”
Growing up in an Italian family was quite an adventure. Conversations at dinner, often loud, with lots of moving hands and constant swing of emotions would seem invigorating to some, while others might feel the need to run for cover. If there is one thing I treasure it is my family. And like many of you, we have it all…the good, the bad and the outraged.
One thing I know for sure is that someone around that table always had my back. For that, I am truly grateful. But, have you ever had a disagreement with someone you love? Maybe said something you immediately regretted? Took something too far? Yep. Me too. Managing to remain in peace with others, including our family members, does have its challenges at times. Fortunately Scripture warns us of the dangers in becoming angry to the point it causes us to sin and encourages us to never let it go unresolved.
Feeling anger in itself is not the sin – the action that we take in anger is the sin. Take a moment to read these passages and allow yourself a moment to reflect upon them.
“Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” (Ephesians 4:26-27)
“A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.” (Proverbs 15:18)
Spiteful outbursts, unspoken needs, and careless comments, can weaken even the best of relationships. Sometimes anger creeps in slowly and other times it comes in like a stick of dynamite exploding. Whether we are the one receiving the wrath of another or the one dishing it out, there are consequences for all parties involved. Left unresolved, anger isn’t an emotion that remains contained to one specific aspect of our life…it will spill over and taint areas we never meant for it to go.
When we leave work angry with our co-workers or boss, we can easily come home and “take it out” on our spouses. If we experience someone treating us poorly at church, we can more easily isolate ourselves from church altogether. We might even go as far as to find a way to let others know what the person did to us, hoping they will take our side, and ultimately cause others to be angry with the person as well. As we sit in anger we can begin to blame God for the actions of humans. Can you see the problem with holding on to anger?
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.” (Ephesians 4:31)
Harboring anger towards another person who has hurt or rejected us, or maybe made a decision in their life that feels hurtful to us, may set us up to live a life mistrusting many – not just that one person. It can foster a seed of bitterness and quite possibly leave us vulnerable to being hurt and offended by others in the future. Creating an environment to be able to express this anger in a healthy way is needed so that the anger doesn’t become sinful.
(Please understand that in a situation of abuse having a righteous anger is not sinful.)
God’s word teaches us about anger:
“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.” (James 1:19)
Are you ready to receive God’s peace in the place of your anger, irritation or resentment? This may require digging deeper into the reasons for these feelings. It might stir up something that you have been fearful to confront in the past. Please be encouraged that God never leaves your side. He will go before you and make a way for this to be removed. Coming to the Lord in prayer and asking Him for help is your first step. Seeking wise counsel and accountability are good options to keep you on track as you seek to heal.
Some of you have been wounded and feel surrounded by the broken pieces left by those who have sinned in anger against you. God has hope for you! He is the way-maker and your desire to receive healing from this will be given. Be encouraged to seek Him to strengthen yourself in His Word. Search out counsel to help you in your discovery of peace. Be encouraged to forgive so that your mind can be set free. Remember you can not take the blame for someone else’s sinful behavior against you. The results of anger do not have to hold you captive any longer. Jesus will meet you where you are and He will be faithful to comfort you.
God made us in His image. May we reflect His love, His mercy and His grace to others – especially in those times that tempt us to anger.
Holding Fast to Hope,
Scripture References: Ephesians 4:26-27; Proverbs 15:18; Ephesians 4:31; James 1:19; Psalm 94:14; 2 Corinthians 1:3
If you feel you need help discerning whether or not someone’s behavior toward you is abuse please call this number right now: 1-800-799-7233