Friday, 25 November 2011

Who Does My Anger Hurt?

People, who explode in anger, wallow in self-pity and/or seethe in resentment hurt themselves. Unresolved anger is poisonous. It can manifest itself as frustration, anxiety, or a critical spirit. It affects our physical well being and can result in deadly ailments.

Relationships are damaged and according to the Book of Proverbs, anger is contagious, especially to children (Prov. 22:24-25). Intimacy is all but lost.

Anger erects a barrier between us and God (Matt.5:21-24). Anger hinders His work and limits his blessing.

Anger is a natural emotion given to us by God. When we become angry at the things that make God angry He is pleased. Jesus was angered by the money-changers and merchants in the Temple and He took a whip to them. Jesus was indignant at the religious leaders of the day and He rebuked them for leading people astray with their hypocritical legalism. Unfortunately I must admit my anger is not usually directed at something that displeases God, it’s something that displeases me.

Not only is God fully aware of the circumstances in which we find ourselves He either allows them or causes them to come about. So when we become angry with regard to our circumstances, our anger is directly or indirectly aimed at God. This demonstrates a lack of faith on our part since Romans 8:28 tells us that God is working in all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

We must confess our feelings to God. He already knows our ugly thoughts and emotions and He is patiently waiting for us to ask Him to work in our hearts, to help us respond to our situation in a way that glorifies Him. We must identify the source of our anger. More often than not, if we dig deep enough, we will realize that we are angry because things are not going our way; our desires and expectations have been thwarted. We should deal with our anger quickly. The Book of Ephesians (4:26-27) tells us not to let the sun go down on our anger. We must not sin in our anger, i.e. hold on to it or lash out with it. Finally we must forgive the offender, as God has forgiven us.

Many of us live in denial. I venture to say the vast majority of people do not consider themselves as angry people. In a culture where the divorce rate is running 50% and an additional 25-35% of couples are unhappy, I find it hard to believe that there aren’t more people who are angry. The sooner we call it what it is and seek the Lord’s help in dealing with it the sooner we can experience the healing that can only come about when we allow the Lord to do elective heart surgery.

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