Anger. A powerful force at times. I say force because even though it is an emotion I think it can be a force that drives us to action. Sometimes anger is obvious to spot. Other times it is a deep seed in our hearts that affects how we live our lives. Bitterness and resentment are what grow from the seed of anger. I know this firsthand because I have been dealing with it in my own life. Anger is not rational and it does not care how others are affected. It is selfish and loathing. Of course there is a type of anger we see Jesus display in John chapter two that is righteous. There is a difference. Righteous anger is accompanied by grief. I an angered when I hear someone slander Christ but I am also grieved for that persons soul. Yes, righteous anger is a good thing and will lead us to good action. This conversation is not about that kind of anger...its about the other.

I don't know if it's possible to avoid becoming angry all the time. That's why we live under God's grace. I have realized that there is a difference in that seed of anger that is rooted in our hearts and the day to day stuff that causes anger. Most often, the root of that deep seated anger comes from a wrong that was done to us. Usually a wrong that has cut deep and bruised the soul. We feel we are justified in our anger...and we are. I'll admit, in my own life that anger was part of my survival. I am seeing more and more how gentle and merciful my God is to allow me to carry that without being destroyed until I was ready to dig it up. Passionate, motivated, tough...these are the words I think of when I think of a life controlled by anger. Those things aren't so bad though right? No, they are not bad when they come from a pure heart. When those things come from this anger we are talking of, they create rifts in relationships and cause damage to others. Anger is often a wall of protection we put up to keep ourselves "safe" because, remember, the reason we are angry is because we have been deeply wounded.

If we've been wounded then that means there is a need for forgiveness. I know how hard this part is. This is where the pain becomes fresh again and we have to face the root of our bitter anger. I think the reason it is so hard to forgive when we've been deeply wounded is because we don't know how we will live with all the emotion if we don't have that anger to hold on too. Forgiveness, unlike anger, can be so difficult because it is not a's a choice. It's much easier to be angry than to least we think. What we don't see, that God does see, is that bitterness destroys us. Not so fast that we realize it but slowly, over time, it corrodes our hearts and even our physical man.

Forgiveness is necessary for freedom in our hearts. Anger is a prison with thick, high, dark walls. God is not requiring us to forgive because He doesn't think our hurt matters. He is asking us to forgive for two reasons. The first is that we have been forgiven. We must remember that before Christ we were no better off than our adversaries. If not for Christ we would all die under wrath. God shows us forgiveness at it's best in Christ. The other reason we must choose forgiveness instead of anger is because it will free us. Why? Forgiveness means love and anger means hate. There is no truth in hate, no joy, no peace...only death. Love brings freedom and peace.

I pray that we choose freedom instead of anger. I ask that God shows us the habits in our lives that come from roots of anger that need to be destroyed. I pray that we find the courage to face those dark places in our hearts and trust Jesus with them knowing that He felt all the pain we did and He is big enough to heal the wound. May we feel God's forgiveness in our hearts and His Grace to help us make the choices that are painful and difficult.

"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, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you."
Ephesians 4:31-32


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