My four-year-old daughter stomped her foot, placed her hands on her hips and huffed, “I’m mad.”
Way to own it, sister.
We don’t have to look long today to witness anger in society. We may just find it inside. For some, a spirit of anger was passed down. You don’t even know how to respond without anger. For others, it’s just one disappointment after another, stuffed down to rise another day.
Anger says: I want my way and I must take it by force.
As we look into scripture we will see that anger itself is not the major problem. It’s what we do about it.
“In your anger, do not sin.” Eph. 4:26
You and I were made with beautiful threads of emotion to enrich and fulfill our lives. God made you with emotion. He did not make emotion to rule over you. This verse helps us see we will FEEL those emotions. But it also tells me there is a space between my feelings and my actions. That space is crunch time for the Christian. What we do there and how much of the Spirit we allow to flow will affect our maturity, our harvest and our joy.
“Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry and do not give the devil a foothold.”
Don’t read this so literally that you miss the point. This doesn’t mean that you have to fix ALL YOUR STUFF before your head hits the pillow or it’s too late. The point is the longer you wait the harder it is. Because the longer anger visits, the more likely it will set up camp.
King Solomon said that “anger resides in the lap of fools.”
Let’s define reside: to dwell permanently; to settle; remain for a long time.
When you let anger it, it means to stay. There are many, many people walking around today on the brink of rage because anger came to visit and stayed too long.
God asked Cain why he was so angry. He stepped into that space between anger and the first murder recorded in scripture…to help. Cain let the tent pegs go into the ground, and anger turned to rage.
The longer you play the tape in your mind concerning that circumstance and how wronged you have been, the deeper the lies take hold. And one of the deepest lies anger can tell is this: revenge provides relief.
I call anger the black widow of emotion. Because the more we feed it, the more it strangles us. We can rationalize anger probably more than any other negative emotion. We’ve all been “wronged” at some point. For some today, you may not even remember the last time you liked people. Because somewhere along the way frustration led to anger and anger led to bitterness.
Here is what you and I need to know as Christians in this discussion: Our yesterday does not have to define our next days. You really can KNOW what it’s like to laugh again. To find joy in people again. To take a deep breath of release.
Christ makes me better. He calls me to better. I don’t want to excuse my behavior or my response. I want to look different to the world. I want a harvest. You can decide today to start over in Him and redefine your label. If you see yourself as angry, began to say “I’m free in Him. I release those who have wronged me.” If others have seen you as angry, let God show them through you what redemption looks like. He can do it.
You don’t have to live angry. There is a better way for you. It’s through Him.