"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."
When I was a sophomore in college, I worked a construction job between semesters. It was not a fun experience. The drive was long, the pay was mediocre, and my boss was a very angry guy. His fuse was measured in millimeters. If I made the slightest mistake, he would erupt and spew the hot, molten lava of his fury all over me. Ugh!
I asked him one day why he was always so angry. (As I recall, he got a little perturbed with the question.) His answer was vague. I don’t think he really knew why he walked around like a ticking time bomb. Rest assured, being around him wasn’t a day at the beach. It was more like a day walking through a mine field, taking great pains to watch every step lest there be an explosion.
Have you been around some angry birds? Are you someone who struggles with anger? Do you lose it in traffic? Do you go ballistic watching your favorite team stink it up? Do minor irritations quickly become major issues in your relationships with people? Is your home characterized by high decibels, cold tension, and harsh communication? From where does the rage come?
I believe that anger comes from hurt. When we experience a hurt in our lives, it makes us sad. And every sad eventually turns to mad. You see, hurt and anger are two sides of the same coin. First, there is the pain and the “OW!” Then there is the retaliation and the “POW!”
Now when it comes to being hurt in life, all of us can relate. Been there, done that. Life is filled with hurts. Whether they do it on purpose or on accident, people are often hurtful. Husbands and wives can say and do some hurtful things to one another. Parents, children, and siblings can, too. So, how are we to handle the hurts that lead to anger?
The Lord makes it clear that we will get angry in life. But in the anger, we don’t have to succumb to sin. We can take our sad and our mad to God. We can make sure we don’t go to bed angry at one another for something that one said or did. If we refuse to do so, we give “the devil an opportunity.” That word opportunity in the Greek literally means a place. Unresolved hurt and anger is an open door for the devil to set up shop.
Why was my boss so angry and hurtful? Somewhere in his past, he had been hurt greatly. His sad turned to mad, as it always does. He allowed his mad to foul and fester in his heart, day after day. The devil went through the open door. He took the place given to him and turned a toe hold into a foothold until it became a stronghold in that man’s life. Anger became his second nature, devastating everything in his path and turning him into a miserable, bitter person.
BREAKING THE STRONGHOLD
So what can we do to break the stronghold of anger? We can get honest with God. We can ask Him to show us the unresolved hurt that is causing our problems. We can employ God’s amazing grace to those raw areas of our lives (see Hebrews 4:15-16). We can forgive those who hurt us, and make things right with those we have hurt. We can evict the devil from our lives and take back the place we foolishly allowed him to have.
You and I don’t have to live angry lives. Give Jesus your sad and mad, and He will give you His grace and peace. Try it and see.
Pastor Jeff Schreve,
From His Heart Ministries
Dr. Jeff Schreve believes that no matter how badly you may have messed up in life, God still loves you and has a wonderful plan just for you. From His Heart provides real truth, love and hope on over 700 radio stations each day, in 182 countries each week on TV, and is always available online. Pastor Jeff takes no income from this ministry. All donations go to furthering the broadcast outreach. As a listener/viewer supported ministry, we thank you for joining with us to help speak the truth in love to a lost and hurting world. Go to www.fromhisheart.org for more information.