Anger or Mercy.

I recently took quite a few personality tests. They were all geared to find out more about myself and also with whom I would be most compatible. It was exciting to take them and discuss them, because I hadn’t in years. No one had cared to know me that well or explored who I was that deeply until this past Christmas. Most of my traits are the same as they have always been. It felt good to see personal growth, of course there’s still lots to learn.

There is no test that can prepare you or define you when the unexpected happens. Everyone has down days and times when they do something the test can’t predict.
Life has a few out of character moments that change the course you are headed. Everyone has had an embarrassing moment when they did something totally out of their comfort zone and something out of their norm that has caused harm. The one I want to talk about here is one that came about because I had a lapse in judgment and angered someone deeply.

I work in a ministry that helps people forgive and get past their anger. I am rarely on the side that causes the anger and when I do it usually breaks my heart. I am tender hearted and really do not have the capacity to mindlessly mistreat someone. I am generally thoughtful and encouraging.

The litmus test for un-forgiveness is anger.

What should the Christian do in this situation? Aaaack to be honest I hate saying this but it’s clear and simple even though what you are forgiving might be huge or minor. In order to redeem time and not become bitter we have a choice to forgive. I wanted to unpack this as I am working through it myself. I have to forgive myself for poor judgment and also have to forgive someone for hurting me even though I wronged them.

What does that look like? First you have to acknowledge you have anger and are dealing with this unresolved issue. Secondly you have to forgive and let it go. Forgiveness doesn’t mean a wrong didn’t occur or that anyone “gets away with” an injustice. We live in a world where our free will slams into another person’s life in a very damaging way sometimes. A world where people can and do whatever they see right in their own eyes. Good intentions aside this is troublesome. The same God who loves us allows these interactions and we love Him because he lets us be who we are, flaws and all. I wouldn’t want to serve a God that made me a robot although a little more brains would have been nice a couple of weeks ago. You might ask why I am angry? Well we can get angry with ourselves. We can get angry over the loss of friendship. We can get angry if we feel attacked. I want to be as genuine as I can here without saying anything that can cause further hurt.

Forgiveness is letting go of that damage or hurt. It’s a process that usually ends once we are past the grief and can have compassion on the person we are forgiving. Hoping they are healed or restored from the actions and released from the pain as you now are. It is taking them off your hook and letting them go. Sometimes you are not given the option of asking them for forgiveness. I wasn’t shown that respect either but the argument could be that I didn’t deserve it. I humbly say that! I would welcome the chance to apologize. I can forgive anyway.
When you forgive yourself, the principle is the same, you are taking yourself off your hook and hopefully learning and growing in a better way. Self-forgiveness is hardest for me because I don’t generally like to get into situations that I cause someone else pain. Forgiveness helps you remain healthy and also helps you get past the past. Anything that is in your past and still affecting you now is not healed and truthfully not in your past. Healing takes time and is harder depending on the offense.

I hope the best for people who have wronged me or who I have wronged. No one gets through this life without painful lessons. I sincerely hope people find joy and happiness in the LORD and peace with the past. I truly hope families are restored and lives are changed.

No one can love or forgive like Jesus.

He is our perfect example.

We can only imitate him by forgiving and receiving forgiveness.

I hope to be forgiven but for now I forgive. ☺

Help I have been robbed by two thieves.

Help! I have been robbed.

 

For years anger and fear have robbed some folks of their life. The life Christ intended for them to have. It’s not always easy to define an angry person but some of the fruits left behind by anger are clear signs a person has let a root of anger foster in their lives. I have seen this in people and learned the hard way that if they don’t see it you really have a challenge on your hands to deal with them.
Fruits of anger and fear.

Resentment, bitterness, denial, confusion, selfishness, lost opportunities, insecurity, any of these can be the ruins left by anger. None of these are productive to have in our lives.

 

Webster defines anger as a feeling of extreme hostility; rage; intense emotional displeasure; aggressive reaction to wrongdoing or injustice.

 

The word anger conjures up a picture in our minds of a red-faced person blowing off steam in a loud manner.  This is sometimes how anger is displayed. Anger can be a wider range of internalized emotions that are not as hard to define and that are also dangerous.

 

Dangers of Anger. 1. Spoiled relationships 2. ruined character 3. poor testimony  4. distrust of others 5. ineffective witness 6. broken fellowship with God and man

 

Let’s look at a well known case of anger recorded in God’s Word. Genesis 4:1-16

 

 

I guess we can see that the lessons Adam and Eve learned about complete obedience from being cast out of Eden, were not evident in Cain’s life.  Let’s look a little more closely at Cain. He worked and wanted to give the fruit of his hands to God. He wanted to give the “works” that he had done in substitution of the required sacrifice by God. He wanted his way. Maybe this was pride or maybe stubbornness. Surely Adam made offerings during his life and Cain knew what God required.  

 

Before we get too righteous we can all identify with times we have thought so much of ourselves that we challenged God with our righteousness. Have you ever said, but LORD I was serving you and this happened to me? Have you ever been rejected after you have done your best and were angry?

 

Cain’s anger led him to the act of murdering his own brother. Anger can lead and keep us in places we never want to be. Many of us would never actually kill someone, but with a war of words we may wound and damage the people we love the most. We get so concerned with the injustice done to us that we attack everyone who seems to be a threat to our point of view. We go from being angry to declaring war.

Why do you think Cain smarted off to God. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” He was very wrapped up in Cain at the moment.

 

No doubt Cain was angry with himself too. He had killed his brother and was mad because he knew full well that God was possibly trying to get him to admit this act. Instead, he chose to snap back at God. Cain’s actions show an unrepentant heart. Have you ever wondered how this story would have ended if Cain had of repented of the murder and the sin of disobedience in offering the wrong sacrifice? How many times have we done something wrong and took it out on the people around us. Scary thought. Cain represents a person who has an expectation that is unrealistic. He represents a person who thinks he can control the outcome of a situation with his actions. I am sure as Cain brought his offering he had justified his actions in his heart.  So many times we justify our anger by actually placing blame. 

 

Often we wage war on everyone in our way when we are angry. We have gone overboard over killing the action of another with bitter words and hurtful treatment.  Sadly, we will act out toward a family member more quickly than anyone else.  Anger will foster the “I’ll get you back for this,” mentality. Once anger takes a strong hold in the way we deal with others we take out all the scriptural ways God wants us to handle things and wade through the situation on raw feelings. A key principle of this study is that our heart will lie to us. Feelings are deceptive!

 

 

Have you ever been angry and God softened your heart?

Can you remember a time when you were in full-blown rage and you calmed down before disaster struck? Of course I am sure you can remember when the volcano blew and those around you were left in ruins. I know I can. Bless everyone’s heart who had to deal with me.

 

Anger is an indicator of something wrong and takes advantage of us in that it makes us focus on our insecurities and fears. When we choose the path of anger we are like a ship without a sail. Any port is fair game. Unfortunately, our families suffer while we are drifting.  We suffer while we are steeped in anger. There’s good news.  There is so much here I could just take all of this apart and expound on it. I rather not though because I believe the Holy Spirit will speak to you in the verses below without my intervention. Open your heart and read them as food to the soul.

 

Ephesians 4

 1I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,  2With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;  3Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;  5One Lord, one faith, one baptism,  6One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.  7But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

 8Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.  9(Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?  10He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)  11And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;  12For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:  13Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

 14That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;  15But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:  16From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

 17This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,  18Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:

 19Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.  20But ye have not so learned Christ;

 21If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:  22That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;  23And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

 24And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.  25Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.  26Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:  27Neither give place to the devil.  28Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

 29Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.  30And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.  31Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:  32And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.