Posts Tagged ‘Anger’

The troubles of this world are cold and relentless. It’s not easy to stay so focused on heaven that we are being bombarded with the problems of earthly life. We’re commanded, of course, to set our minds on things above, not on earthly things (Col. 3:2), but even the most committed believer will testify that earthly trials sometimes obscure the heavenly perspective.

sam

We worry. We grieve. We stumble. We strain under the toil of our daily labors. We feel the guilt of our fallen condition. Meanwhile, we are assaulted with troubles of all kinds. Those are just a few of the many worldly burdens that  keep our thoughts from rising to heaven.

And yet we are commanded repeatedly to “seek the things that are above” (Col. 3:1). We are instructed to “look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen” (2 Cor. 4:18). We can’t allow the burdens of this life to divert our hearts from heaven.

How is that possible? When the load weighs us down and the troubles become too much for one person to bear, pie-in-the-sky sentiments can sound very far away.

But that is precisely why the church is so important. It is our duty as believers to help bear each others burdens (Gal. 6:2). When someone staggers, we help steady the load. If he is straining, we help bear the burden. And if he stumbles, we lift him up. Helping fellow believers carry the weight of their worldly troubles is one of the chief practical duties that should be something every Christian WANTS to do.

Of course, that concept is contrary to the thoughts of our culture, with secular society’s tendency to focus on ourselves. Our generation has developed an unhealthy obsession with entertainment; we are daily bombarded with a bunch of trivial diversions; and we tend to interact with one another in sound-bites or through faceless media. We live in crowded cities and over-populated neighborhoods; yet most individuals are more isolated than ever.

And let’s be honest — Most churches nowadays often imitate the culture exactly where we most need to confront and contradict its influence. As churches seek to become bigger, flashier, and more technologically savvy, they usually tend to become more cold and impersonal. Contemporary churches sometimes even seem to encourage the “me first” agenda of self-love rather than the “one another” commands of Scripture. As a result, we don’t bear one another’s burdens like we should.

Paul made this duty a high priority. It was the centerpiece of his sermons to the Galatian churches. The first half (or more) of Galatians is a defense of  faith and a series of arguments against the false teaching that threatened to place those churches in bondage to the Law. In Galatians 5:14 he reminded them: “The whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”

How is that love best shown? “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (6:2).

Do you want to fulfill the moral requirements of the Law? Love your neighbor. How do you love him? By bearing his burdens.

It’s interesting that Paul would emphasize this theme in an epistle written to confront people who were falling into legalism. It’s as if he were saying, “You want to observe a law? Let it be the law of Christ. If you have to impose burdens on yourselves, let it be through acts of love toward your neighbor.”

If you will do that faithfully, your own burden won’t seem so heavy. Best of all, you will find it easier to keep your focus heavenward, regardless of the trials you suffer in this life.

They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. (John 17:16 )

Heaven

We live here, we walk here, we eat and drink here, but may we never call it home. The ground beneath our feet and sky above our heads are the scenery we enjoy momentarily, but they will pass away (Matthew 24:35). Our family is more than people with the same last name (Mark 3:35), as believers we are united by blood, literally the shed blood of Jesus the risen Savior. We, the family, walk as sojourners (1 Peter 2:11), as travelers, loving and serving the people around us, all the while remembering we will one day be home. A home that has been prepared for us (John 14:3), where we will live in ever increasing joy.

Our lips will never again say, “It was fun while it lasted”, as the smile fades from our face. In our home there is no sorrow, there is no disease, there is no end to joy (Revelation 21:4). In our home our treasure does not fail, there is no thief to steal, no moneybag to grow old (Luke 12:33). In your heart, and in your head, where is your treasure and your home? For “there will your heart will be also” (Luke 12:34).

Where is your home?

John 7:37-38 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

Frozen Niagara Falls

An estimated 500,000 tons of water go over Niagara Falls every minute. On March 29, 1948, the falls suddenly stopped. Those who lived near enough heard the overwhelming silence, and immediately they thought it was a sign – the end of the world had come! However, after thirty hours had passed – the flow of water resumed.

What happened? Heavy winds had set the ice fields of Lake Erie in motion and tons of ice had jammed the Niagara River entrance near Buffalo. The ice blocked the flow of water until finally, there was a shift in the blockage and the river began flowing again.

The river had stopped flowing because of ice.

If we really want the flow of God’s love, peace, joy, and anointing in our lives – we cannot allow our hearts to become like ice. If we do, His life-giving current will stop.

Let the Lord search your heart for those areas where the ice has built up and needs to thaw out. He will show you where they are if you ask. Our hearts should be burning for Him, so let the river flow…. once again.

madA short-tempered man is a fool. It’s in the Bible, Ecclesiastes 7:9, TLB. “Don’t be quick-tempered—that is being a fool.” It’s in the Bible, Proverbs 19:11, TLB. “A wise man restrains his anger and overlooks insults. This is to his credit.” It’s in the Bible, Proverbs 16:32, TLB “It is better to be slow-tempered than famous; it is better to have self-control than to control an army.”

Get over anger quickly. It’s in the Bible, Ephesians 4:26-27, TLB. “If you are angry, don’t sin by nursing your grudge. Don’t let the sun go down with you still angry—get over it quickly; For when you are angry you give a mighty foothold to the devil.”

What does Jesus warn about anger? It’s in the Bible, Matthew 5:22, NKJV. ” But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.”

How does God relate to anger? It’s in the Bible, Psalm 103:8, NKJV “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.”

How does Love relate to anger? It’s in the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13:5, NIV. “It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”

Don’t fight back when wronged. It’s in the Bible, I Peter 3:9, TLB “Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t snap back at those who say unkind things about you. Instead, pray for God’s help for them, for we are to be kind to others, and God will bless us for it.”

Anger produces strife. It’s in the Bible, Proverbs 30:33, NIV. “For as churning the milk produces butter, and as twisting the nose produces blood, so stirring up anger produces strife.”

How should we react to someone’s anger? It’s in the Bible, Proverbs 15:1, NKJV. “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger”

Why do we forgive, rather than continue to be angry? Because God forgave us. It’s in the Bible, Ephesians 4:30-32, NKJV. ” And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

madA short-tempered man is a fool. It’s in the Bible, Ecclesiastes 7:9, TLB. “Don’t be quick-tempered—that is being a fool.” It’s in the Bible, Proverbs 19:11, TLB. “A wise man restrains his anger and overlooks insults. This is to his credit.” It’s in the Bible, Proverbs 16:32, TLB “It is better to be slow-tempered than famous; it is better to have self-control than to control an army.”

Get over anger quickly. It’s in the Bible, Ephesians 4:26-27, TLB. “If you are angry, don’t sin by nursing your grudge. Don’t let the sun go down with you still angry—get over it quickly; For when you are angry you give a mighty foothold to the devil.”

What does Jesus warn about anger? It’s in the Bible, Matthew 5:22, NKJV. ” But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.”

How does God relate to anger? It’s in the Bible, Psalm 103:8, NKJV “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.”

How does Love relate to anger? It’s in the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13:5, NIV. “It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”

Don’t fight back when wronged. It’s in the Bible, I Peter 3:9, TLB “Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t snap back at those who say unkind things about you. Instead, pray for God’s help for them, for we are to be kind to others, and God will bless us for it.”

Anger produces strife. It’s in the Bible, Proverbs 30:33, NIV. “For as churning the milk produces butter, and as twisting the nose produces blood, so stirring up anger produces strife.”

How should we react to someone’s anger? It’s in the Bible, Proverbs 15:1, NKJV. “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger”

Why do we forgive, rather than continue to be angry? Because God forgave us. It’s in the Bible, Ephesians 4:30-32, NKJV. ” And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil and opportunity. (Ephesians 4:26-27)

Difficult circumstances can bring about many emotions in the hurting heart. One of those emotions is anger. When you are suffering, or facing difficult challenges, there may be many feelings at the root of your anger. You may be feeling betrayed by God, wondering why He allowed such a disaster to hit your home … and your life. You may wonder, “If God loves me, why did He allow this to happen? Why won’t He take the pain away?” These and other questions (which we’ll discuss tomorrow) can evoke anger toward God. Your anger may also stem from feelings of insecurity as a result of loss; or from uncertainty as you face major, unexpected life-changes and an unclear future.

Though anger is a natural, human emotion, and a normal part of the journey toward healing, left unchecked, anger can be a dangerous emotion that may lead to sin, such as unforgiveness. If not resolved, it can give the enemy an opportunity to destroy your hope, steal your peace, poison your heart with bitterness, damage relationships, and keep you from moving forward.

You can face and resolve your anger by first being honest with yourself and with God about what you are feeling. He is big enough to handle your anger and to help you resolve it. Talk to Him about your doubts and fears, and what is causing rage in your heart. Tell Him, “God, I am so angry!” He will not turn His back on you. So, give your angry feelings to the Lord, and trust Him to replace those feelings with peace, forgiveness, and strength. Freedom from unchecked anger is freedom to heal. (5)

Taking back your life …

1. Talk with someone who would be comfortable listening to you vent your anger. Discuss the feelings that may be at the root of this emotion. Identifying these feelings and expressing them verbally will help you to work through your anger.

2. Hebrews 10:30 says, “For we know Him who said, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will Repay.’ And again, ‘The Lord will judge His people.'” How can you apply this Scripture to how you are feeling about those who hurt you or let you down during this tragedy?

3. If you have harbored anger in your heart, confess this anger to God, and if applicable, or possible, to the one who has hurt or offended you. Then release your anger by forgiving them. Not only is forgiveness a requirement to be forgiven (Matthew 6:14), resolving your anger and forgiving those who have hurt you will free your heart to truly heal. Have you, in anger, hurt or offended your spouse, child, or someone else during this difficult time? If so, repent by confessing this to God and to that person, and ask for forgiveness. Make sure the wounded relationship is healed. Then prove your repentance and sincerity by controlling your anger (see Acts 26:20).

Additional Scripture reading:

Psalm 37:8
Ephesians 4:32
Colossians 3:8

Handling anger is an important life skill. Christian counselors report that 50 percent of people who come in for counseling have problems dealing with anger. Anger can shatter communication and tear apart relationships, and it ruins both the joy and health of many. Sadly, people tend to justify their anger instead of accepting responsibility for it. Everyone struggles, to varying degrees, with anger. Thankfully, God’s Word contains principles regarding how to handle anger in a godly manner, and how to overcome sinful anger.

Anger is not always sin. There is a type of anger of which the Bible approves, often called “righteous indignation.” God is angry (Psalm 7:11; Mark 3:5), and believers are commanded to be angry (Ephesians 4:26). Two Greek words in the New Testament are translated as “anger.” One means “passion, energy” and the other means “agitated, boiling.” Biblically, anger is God-given energy intended to help us solve problems. Examples of biblical anger include David’s being upset over hearing Nathan the prophet sharing an injustice (2 Samuel 12) and Jesus’ anger over how some of the Jews had defiled worship at God’s temple in Jerusalem (John 2:13-18). Notice that neither of these examples of anger involved self-defense, but a defense of others or of a principle.

That being said, it is important to recognize that anger at an injustice inflicted against oneself is also appropriate. Anger has been said to be a warning flag—it alerts us to those times when others are attempting to or have violated our boundaries. God cares for each individual. Sadly, we do not always stand up for one another, meaning that sometimes we must stand up for ourselves. This is especially important when considering the anger that victims often feel. Victims of abuse, violent crime, or the like have been violated in some way. Often while experiencing the trauma, they do not experience anger. Later, in working through the trauma, anger will emerge. For a victim to reach a place of true health and forgiveness, he or she must first accept the trauma for what it was. In order to fully accept that an act was unjust, one must sometimes experience anger. Because of the complexities of trauma recovery, this anger is often not short-lived, particularly for victims of abuse. Victims should process through their anger and come to a place of acceptance, even forgiveness. This is often a long journey. As God heals the victim, the victim’s emotions, including anger, will follow. Allowing the process to occur does not mean the person is living in sin.

Anger can become sinful when it is motivated by pride (James 1:20), when it is unproductive and thus distorts God’s purposes (1 Corinthians 10:31), or when anger is allowed to linger (Ephesians 4:26-27). One obvious sign that anger has turned to sin is when, instead of attacking the problem at hand, we attack the wrongdoer. Ephesians 4:15-19 says we are to speak the truth in love and use our words to build others up, not allow rotten or destructive words to pour from our lips. Unfortunately, this poisonous speech is a common characteristic of fallen man (Romans 3:13-14). Anger becomes sin when it is allowed to boil over without restraint, resulting in a scenario in which hurt is multiplied (Proverbs 29:11), leaving devastation in its wake. Often, the consequences of out-of-control anger are irreparable. Anger also becomes sin when the angry one refuses to be pacified, holds a grudge, or keeps it all inside (Ephesians 4:26-27). This can cause depression and irritability over little things, which are often unrelated to the underlying problem.

We can handle anger biblically by recognizing and admitting our prideful anger and/or our wrong handling of anger as sin (Proverbs 28:13; 1 John 1:9). This confession should be both to God and to those who have been hurt by our anger. We should not minimize the sin by excusing it or blame-shifting.

We can handle anger biblically by seeing God in the trial. This is especially important when people have done something to offend us. James 1:2-4, Romans 8:28-29, and Genesis 50:20 all point to the fact that God is sovereign over every circumstance and person that crosses our path. Nothing happens to us that He does not cause or allow. Though God does allow bad things to happen, He is always faithful to redeem them for the good of His people. God is a good God (Psalm 145:8, 9, 17). Reflecting on this truth until it moves from our heads to our hearts will alter how we react to those who hurt us.

We can handle anger biblically by making room for God’s wrath. This is especially important in cases of injustice, when “evil” men abuse “innocent” people. Genesis 50:19 and Romans 12:19 both tell us to not play God. God is righteous and just, and we can trust Him who knows all and sees all to act justly (Genesis 18:25).

We can handle anger biblically by returning good for evil (Genesis 50:21; Romans 12:21). This is key to converting our anger into love. As our actions flow from our hearts, so also our hearts can be altered by our actions (Matthew 5:43-48). That is, we can change our feelings toward another by changing how we choose to act toward that person.

We can handle anger biblically by communicating to solve the problem. There are four basic rules of communication shared in Ephesians 4:15, 25-32:

1) Be honest and speak (Ephesians 4:15, 25). People cannot read our minds. We must speak the truth in love.

2) Stay current (Ephesians 4:26-27). We must not allow what is bothering us to build up until we lose control. It is important to deal with what is bothering us before it reaches critical mass.

3) Attack the problem, not the person (Ephesians 4:29, 31). Along this line, we must remember the importance of keeping the volume of our voices low (Proverbs 15:1).

4) Act, don’t react (Ephesians 4:31-32). Because of our fallen nature, our first impulse is often a sinful one (v. 31). The time spent in “counting to ten” should be used to reflect upon the godly way to respond (v. 32) and to remind ourselves how the energy anger provides should be used to solve problems and not create bigger ones.

At times we can handle anger preemptively by putting up stricter boundaries. We are told to be discerning (1 Corinthians 2:15-16; Matthew 10:16). We need not “cast our pearls before swine” (Matthew 7:6). Sometimes our anger leads us to recognize that certain people are unsafe for us. We can still forgive them, but we may choose not to re-enter the relationship.

Finally, we must act to solve our part of the problem (Romans 12:18). We cannot control how others act or respond, but we can make the changes that need to be made on our part. Overcoming a temper is not accomplished overnight. But through prayer, Bible study, and reliance upon God’s Holy Spirit, ungodly anger can be overcome. We may have allowed anger to become entrenched in our lives by habitual practice, but we can also practice responding correctly until that, too, becomes a habit and God is glorified in our response.