Friday, January 17, 2014

So Much Anger - Part III

Friday, January 17, 2014
Let’s talk about what to do if you’re prone to anger.  

First of all, God says we must get rid of our anger – along with a lot of other things that have no place in the Christian who walks in genuine maturity of the faith.

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption.  Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.        
Ephesians 4:30 - 32 (NRSV)

How do I DO that?
In Psalm 109 David pleads his case against some enemies to God.  They have set him up, framed him with lies and are pushing for his removal from the throne.  They want him in prison or executed.  If it happens David’s family will be destitute, shamed in the community, cursed and endure suffering beyond imagination.  David is ANGRY!  His anger (and how he deals with it) is of tremendous benefit to us as an example of how to deal with our own anger.

Step One – Perceive and Acknowledge
King David has an outburst of anger because retaliation is on his mind and heart; he seeks vengeance on his enemies:
May that be the reward of my accusers from the LORD, of those who speak evil against my life.  Psalms 109:20 (NRSV)

David’s desire is that every bit of the evil his enemies plotted against him would come back on their own heads.  Most of us have felt that way.  But in David’s case he is doing the healthy thing – acknowledging before God his own anger for what it is.  

There is no candy-coating here; he prays, God, get those suckers!  And he put it in writing!  

In so-praying, David is acknowledging his sin of anger.  And you have to do that if you’re actually going to get forgiveness and help.  Perceive and acknowledge your anger!

Step Two – Pray and Accept
But you, O LORD my Lord, act on my behalf for your name’s sake; because your steadfast love is good, deliver me.  Psalms 109:21 (NRSV)

David’s prayer takes David out of the equation – no retaliation in David’s hands, no vengeance.  He simply asks God to straighten out the offenders.  David’s prayer is for deliverance.  There is no instruction for God, only a plea that righteousness would prevail.  David leaves it open for God to straighten-out whoever might be the cause of all the trouble – even if the troublemaker is David!

Can you pray like that, with the kind of humility that trusts God to “right” whatever is “wrong”?  Sometimes – no, most times – when there is trouble and anger there is enough wrong to go around.  Occasionally, in marital disputes for instance, there might be a husband who is 100% wrong or fault which completely belongs to the wife; I’ve never found such a situation, but there might be ONE IN ALL THE WORLD

Perceive and Acknowledge your anger; Pray with humility, Accepting God’s way, and…

Step Three – Proceed with Your Life
With my mouth I will give great thanks to the LORD; I will praise him in the midst of the throng.  Psalms 109:30 (NRSV)

To “proceed” is to go about your life, giving thanks to God for what He will do publicly and privately.  This doesn’t guarantee a smooth life, one without difficulty – beloved, that does not exist!  Life’s road is indeed rocky!

What this constitutes is a life obediently staying in the will of God to deal with anger in the only appropriate way – see it as YOUR anger, confessing it to God and trusting God to right the circumstances, even if it’s painful for you. 

The key to getting help is trusting God; and He IS trustworthy.  It’s always your choice – you will be angry sometimes, but you don’t have to be sinful.

Proceed…with faith!

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