Ephesians 4:26-27 "BE ANGRY, AND YET DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity." NASU
I mentioned last time the marriage conference my husband and I attended in May. Loved it. We didn't need more than just a tune up since we're doing great, but I did take some things away from the weekend which apply to all of life and not just those of us in wedded bliss.
Anger. The above passage tells us three things pretty clearly about it. One, we WILL get angry. It's a part of the human condition and a valid emotion. I'm not saying the responses to anger are the best, but we'll get into that a bit. :-) Two, there is a WAY to deal with our anger which is Godly. And three, anger can be a foothold of the enemy. You know how I feel about giving the enemy ANY power over me or mine.
The statement which caught my attention at the conference was this...we get angry when our expectations aren't met. Think about this for a second. It really boils anger down to a very basic pattern in our lives. We THINK a situation should go a certain way and it doesn't. POW! Anger. Someone pulls out in front of us on the road. We get angry because we expect them to be courteous in their driving habits. Why, I have no idea....my husband says I have an idiot magnet attached to my forehead. Our kids do something we've told them not to do. Anger. Our spouse doesn't treat us the way we think we should be treated. Anger. Someone in our family says or does something to hurt us. Anger if we're not careful. Read Luke 6:26-36. Powerful stuff.
Scripture tells us in Ephesians 4:29-32 "Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you." NASU
"...according to the need of the moment..." WHY? "...so that it will give grace to those who hear." Wow. Moment by moment we are to be so in tune with the Holy Spirit as to get a hold on the anger which will come. Scripture doesn't tell us not to get angry. It says pretty clearly it's going to happen. We have to chose to walk in an abiding relationship with Christ so closely as to have Him give us each moment's words for any given situation. Abide or abiding means "continuing in a permanent state". Our life is to be lived wrapped up in the sanctification of Christ which He has given us. We are to be living and breathing Him in order to make it through this world which is not our home.
The rest of those verses are extremely important as well. We are not to grieve the Holy Spirit. Ouch. I wonder how often I do that and don't even realize it. Goes back to Psalm 139:23-24 where we ask, each day, for Him to show us our hurtful ways so we can change.
Put aside all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander and malice. Not just acknowledge them, but put them aside. Get rid of them. Do not dwell on them and let them fester in your heart. Where that nastiness is, less of Christ is able to be.
Now for the kicker..."BE KIND TO ONE ANOTHER, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you." I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it until the day of His return...Christians eat their own. Within our families there are hurts which we just won't let go. We treasure these things like jewels, hoarding them in our hearts and holding them against each other in accounts. So and so said THIS to me and I'm just not going to forgive that. Excuse me? Where in Scripture do you have that right? Seems to me we are to be letting it ALL go for the sake of living a righteous life in Christ. Hmmm. Whether you forgive that person or not, Christ DIED for that forgiveness. It's given by Him freely. They may not take it, but it's there. Do we live like that? Is forgiveness just waiting for the fallible humans in our lives to make a mistake or is judgment and anger waiting to beat them over the heads with what they've done? Who does that look like? Certainly not Christ.
I said last time that I'm striving to be an encourager. Take heart in these words from Christ in His Word. Learn from them and know the peace of His blameless life. Walk hand in hand with Him and know what it is to fear NO evil which might try to come your way. Give up the destructive forces of anger and allow such a love for others to fill you that you overflow with it! BE like Christ as we are called. Some want Utopia. This is how we get it. :-)