Friday, July 11, 2014

Responding in Anger




Responding in Anger

Ephesians 4:31,32
 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, (loud yelling or screaming) and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice (vindictiveness, a strong desire for revenge): And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

Growing up, my brother, was a very angry child and brought much pain and sorrow to our home. As he grew into his teenage years, his anger increased and he became abusive to my mother and me. I was five years younger than my brother and terribly afraid of him. There were times when I became ecstatic over him being taken away to Juvenile Hall or even later, to prison. This sounds a bit harsh, I know, but to a little girl, the pain was very real and I just wanted the torment to stop. His anger took him places he didn’t want to go, mainly, prison and caused him countless years of unhappiness. Fighting, arguing and a lack of self-control were horrible characteristics that he possessed and later introduced him to an unrestrained and dreadful way of life. Outraged with anger, he nearly killed a young man with a knife; sending him to prison for a considerable length of time. 

I was not a Christian growing up so, the words, “I hate you!” were honest feelings I had towards my brother. Of course, they were wrong, but they were real-life feelings I didn’t know how to respond to. The fear and anger I experienced, brought out feelings of desperation, torment and tremendous guilt. I entertained hateful thoughts towards my brother and was plagued with regret and fear. Not knowing Christ or having His gentle hand upon my tender wounded soul, caused my heart to suffer bitterness and resentment. No forgiveness, no freedom from bitterness or resentment ever came until I put my faith and trust in Jesus Christ. He removed the sin of bitterness and resentment; putting a new song in my heart towards God. The Holy Spirit taught me to forgive and my new life in Christ produced a love for my brother that I had never anticipated or  ever experienced. 

After trusting Christ, I wanted to know, “Can a Christian biblically handle anger?” The answer, of course, was, “Yes!” A Christian needs to see God in their trials; realizing He is in complete control over every circumstance and person that enters their path. Nothing happens by mistake; neither does God make any mistakes. 

We handle anger biblically by communicating with those who have offended us to solve the problem. We cannot allow what has bothered us to build up resentment in our hearts and lose control. We are to attack the problem and not the person–––remembering to never let the sun go down while we are still angry. (Ephesians 4:26-27).

Anger is a sinful result of a prideful self-will. Only by pride cometh contention (fighting arguing, anger): but with the well advise (wise counsel) is wisdom. (Proverbs 13:10a). James tells us to submit ourselves to God, resist the devil and he will flee from us. We are to draw near to God, and He will draw near to us. (James 4:6b-8). 

Angry people can certainly destroy the atmosphere of a home. Children growing up under this type of influence will learn how to show anger and later become angry adults. Fathers and mothers are never to provoke their children to anger. Definition of provoke: evoke, cause, annoy, give occasion or motivate a child to anger. But, parents are to bring their children up in the discipline and instruction of the LORD. (Ephesians 6:4). 

Do not make friends with angry people or allow children to be influenced by them because, they can learn their ways and be trapped by what they have learned. Proverbs 22:24-25 ~ “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.”

Thoughts: Overcoming a temper is not accomplished overnight. But through prayer, Bible study, and reliance upon God’s Holy Spirit, ungodly anger can be overcome. Just as we may have allowed anger to become entrenched in our lives by habitual practice, we must also practice responding correctly until it becomes a habit itself. If someone has hurt you, offended you, or abused you, the biblical response to all offenses is forgiveness. Forgiveness relieves you from the tormentors and sets you on the path of repentance, restoration, and recovery. Whether you are the angry person yourself, or the one that anger has mistreated, Christ is still the answer. Put your faith and trust in the Lord and give your anger to Him to control. Obey the command to forgive and let the offender off the hook; to set your captive heart free.

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