Are you mad as hell? (literally?)

“He is an angry man,” I thought to myself as the conversation continued. From the first word, his defenses were up.  His tone was curt, his words edged with accusation. His anger caused him to see ‘issues’ where there weren’t any, and provoked a defensive poster in me!  Feeling his hostility, I instinctively became guarded, carefully choosing my words, trying to end the conversation and step away.

angerAnger has many roots.
If we think we are being treated unfairly, we may grow angry.
|If we feel threatened, fear rises and often anger accompanies it.
When we become frustrated by some situation that does not go the way we would like it to go, anger can follow.

Anger is a dangerous emotion! Of course, it can be useful.  It motivates us to seek change. It can make us bold.  But, anger, like fire, requires strict boundaries.  Both, if kept where they belong, serve us well. When they are out of control, they become terribly destructive.  Christians, filled with the Spirit of God, will generally set aside anger and pursue peace.  Knowing we are held in God’s hand, kept by His promises, and assured of eternal life – we can lay down our weapons and meet those around us with an open heart.  Jesus said that ‘peacemakers’ will be called ‘sons of God.’  When we live in a way that builds bridges and creates relationship, we look ‘just like Dad.’  In His great wisdom, God reminds us, “Live in harmony with each other. … And don’t think you know it all! Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord.” (Romans 12:16-20, NLT)

If you think I am saying that living peaceably is easy, think again!  Choosing to love, refusing offense, demands the crucifixion of ego daily. Rude people will criticize, ignore, and say the most outrageous things to you and about you.  Mostly, they are just thoughtless, insensitive, or self-absorbed, so forgive them and ‘live in peace.’   We will, from time to time, meet people who are ‘bad to bone,’ who are full of evil intent. Even then, the God’s counsel is to “overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21, NIV)

The person who chooses to love the Body of Christ more than his own preferences, who refuses offense, who prays to love – has chosen wisely.  As he cultivates the garden of his heart, inviting the Spirit to weed and water it, fruit of real Life becomes increasing evident – “God’s Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. ” (Galatians 5:22-23, CEV)  Do you see any of the anger so commonplace in our society in that Word?

A Christian who is at peace with God and living in peace becomes a source of life for his family, his friends; the whole world that he influences. Instead of swallowing the poison of wrath by holding a grudge, he chooses to drink deeply of Living Water that heals his soul. Instead of wrapping himself in burlap of self-pity, he puts on the garments of praise that lifts him from despair.

Are you angry today?
Has someone offended you, failed to appreciate your work, or falsely accused you?
Have your expectations gone unmet, your desire to be affirmed ignored or been unnoticed?
Are you frustrated?

Before you blow up, kneel down!

Memorize this passage. “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city. ” (Proverbs 16:32, NKJV)

You can attempt to vindicate yourself and punish the offender. If you do, everybody loses. Or you walk with God, inviting the Holy Spirit to fill your heart with transforming grace. When He lives in us, love wins!

Here’s a word from the Word. Let’s live it. “Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness.” (Colossians 3:13-15, The Message)

Jerry D. Scott, Pastor

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