What God Has to Say About Our Anger (and how to respond to it)
I lost my mind today.
For real … LOST. IT.
I yelled, stomped around, and even used a couple words I don’t allow my children to use.
Overwhelmed, angry, stressed, and exhausted, I lost control of my thoughts, words, and actions, lashing out at my family. This means four other people crossed my path of fury and got stung.
I hate to admit it, but I didn’t immediately feel regret. I seethed and my mind raced about how justified I was in my actions, words, & thoughts. The past week has been little of anything else but defiance, disobedience, intentional disregard, and blatant disrespect toward me from my children.
The thing is I work hard, take care of so many people, and deserve a little respect or help every once in a while, right? Don’t we all deserve a little respect, space, and maybe even a break sometimes??
So yeah — I thought I was justified in my demand for respect.
If you think about it ... this world would say I was justified too.
The world would say YES.
The world would tell me it was fine to react in anger about my situation. It’s justifiable.
But God says NO.
God says that anger caused me to sin. And sin is not justifiable.
When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath (your exasperation, your fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down. Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil [give no opportunity to him]. (Ephesians 4:26-27, AMPC)
This sin can separate me from my holy and good God and it can trump the fruit of the Spirit that He so desperately wants to shine through me.
My reactions to my anger and frustration were ones that the world justifies, not God.
But you see, the incredible news is that even while we sin — while we are still sinners — God has already shown His love for us. He made a way for us to reconcile by sending His Son to a cross, even now when we mess up.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. - Romans 5:8 (emphasis mine)
Luckily, it didn’t take too long before I calmed down from my emotional tirade and regained some sense. Probably because I had the Holy Spirit whispering in my ear verses like:
…Do not lose your temper – it only leads to harm. - Psalm 37:8
… sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs. - Proverbs 19:11
…[forgive] one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. - Ephesians 4:32
It’s that last verse listed that got me…. “just as Christ has forgiven you.”
In the heat of the moment, I forgot that the way I’m treated is nowhere near as bad as Jesus Christ was on a not-so-good Friday. Our God had (and still has!) every right to be angry at me and retaliate.
He has the right to do it to all of us.
But this is where He allows not our works to be justified, but our faith.
For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. - Romans 3:28
When discussing “works” many times theologians reference the “good stuff” we do, often in order to prove our worthiness. However, these “works” can also include the “bad stuff” we do too.
It has to, because Jesus handled all of it on Calvary.
I am so eternally grateful that our mistakes - our thoughts, actions, works - aren’t justified in God’s eyes.
So friend, when we are feeling anger, or resentment, or anything other type of emotion that could lead to sin, let’s remember a few things (better than I did today):
Let’s remember that our God justifies faith, not works.
Let’s remember to keep the faith.
Let’s remember that He has already shown His love to us, while we were still sinners.
Let’s remember to ask Christ to show up with and for us in these heated moments.
After I asked forgiveness for my behavior from God, I approached my family asking humbly for their forgiveness, as well.
It turns out they already had forgiven me … while I was still angry, while I was still sinning.
And Christ showed up.
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