Bella Vista Church of Christ

LIFELINES

02/19/2020

Randall Caselman

 

Anger – Hate – Sin

 

  We are all guilty. Anger opportunities seem to come our way all too frequently. So, we must deal with it and do so in a Scriptural manner. Let's see what we can learn...

 

  Webster tells us that "anger is a hostile feeling of displeasure excited by a supposed or real injury or loss which is often accompanied by a desire to take vengeance in some form of retaliation." In Scripture the Greek word translated “anger” is frequently rendered “wrath” by our King James translators. Anger (wrath) is a mental excitement that could - Could - result in violent passion. You see, anger does not have to result in vengeance and retaliation. That decision is up to us.

 

  Doris Black and Charlotte Mize, in their book- "But How Can I?"- say that: “Anger is like sticks of dynamite, useful when managed correctly, but will kill, cripple, maim and scar for life when uncontrolled or handled inappropriately.” So, what do we do? How do we manage anger correctly?

 

  Before we answer, let me make this point: Anger is not a sin. It is how we react to it that can become sinful.  Paul says, “Be angry and sin not. Do not allow the sun to go down on your wrath.” The Hebrews' Writer tells us; “See to it that no root of bitterness grow up to cause trouble and defile.”Anger is not the sin: Hate, rage, bitterness, malice, retaliation are! Solomon had this advice: "Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs" (Proverbs 10.12). It was Peter who wrote: "Love covers a multitude of sins." How do we keep our anger under control, God'scontrol? It's not easy, but Scripture tells us it's possible...

 

  Acknowledge Our Hurt. Wounds not attended to tend to become infected. Satan is active. Sin is progressive. It's like bacteria to an open sore. It will only become worse. Satan will see that things get worse, not better. So admit how bad the hurt: To self, to others who will encourage a Christ-like conclusion. Never confess our hurt to someone who will engage in vengeful gossip, but echo a humble cry for love and support. Here it is church, most of the time we are not capable of self-healing; we need the help of a friend, counselor, elder, or parent. It's all right to admit our hurts. It helps to talk it out - Try it!Don’t allow Satan to make you too ashamed to seek help. Again, here's Solomon's advice: "Whoever conceals hatred with lying lips and spreads slander is a fool" (Proverbs 10.18).

 

  Above All Forgive. Release the hurt. Jesus gives us a spiritual law in the "Lord’s Prayer" when he teaches us to pray, “Forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors.” Folk, we cannot seek God’s help and healing unless and until we forgive. It will not happen. You have heard me say this before: "It only takes one to forgive. It takes two to reconcile, but one to forgive." When will we admit this truth? A truth practiced by Jesus on the cross. When we truly forgive, we find that the person we have released is none other than ourself. Just forgive; make it a reality by saying it out loud; pray it to God; tell it to others. "As God’s chosen people, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive as the Lord has forgiven you." "If you forgive men when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you." How appreciative are we of God's forgiveness? How much like God do we want to be? How many sins do we need covered, forgiven? Then, above all, we must forgive. Amen?

 

  Be Assured That God Will Help. God never asks anything of us that He does not empower and equip us to accomplish. He promises that He will not allow trial and temptation to be more than we can control. It may seem that this hurt, this bitterness, and anger is more than we can deal with at the moment, but God is ready to help. Ask Him! And then be ready to listen to His reply. Be like Samuel: “Speak Lord, for your servant is ready to hear Your voice.” It does little good to pray and then close our heart. It was Jesus who said, "But to you who are willing to listen I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you"(Luke 6.27 NLT).

 

  Be Patient. Once when I was hurt deeply by a family I thought was my closest friends, I prayed and prayed that God would take the ugly, bitter, vengeful, retaliatory, thoughts out of my mind - Their hurt seemed to invade my every idle moment. It didn’t happen overnight, but one day driving Interstate 49, I noticed that they and the hurt were not returning so frequently. Weeks later such thoughts were gone completely. Thank you Lord! God works in His own time. Keep praying, keep asking, keep seeking. Be patient.

 

  Control Our Thoughts. Do not fondle the hurt. Do not replay the conversations and behavior that brought on the crisis. Let it go! Paul says, "If it is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy–Think on these things." Folk, we control our thoughts! We must grab our “want to” by our "will" and decide to not rehearse ugly thoughts and hurt feelings. We are masters of our thoughts and passions.

 

  Well, anger is never easy to manage. But God wills that we do, and has given the capacity to do. So we can! Perhaps James gives us our best advice when he says to "be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry." Why? Because, once it becomes anger, it is difficult to manage. And anger never brings about the righteous life God desires.

 

—RANDALL CASELMAN