Anger and Forgiveness

“Be angry, yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.” Ephesians 4:26

I am stuck on this topic because I know the bondage that anger or hurt can leave you in, and I know the freedom and joy that can be yours when you can forgive and let go!

 Let’s put this verse in Ephesians in context.  Ephesians 4:23-24 says, “…that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”  When you asked Jesus to be in charge of your life and you were born again, you became a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17).  You were made righteous based not on your actions, but on the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.  This righteousness and holiness is based in truth.  Truth is Jesus and the word of God.  To be renewed in the spirit of our minds, we must be about reading God’s word, praying and being in God’s presence.  The Holy Spirit will renew our minds through God’s word. 

Notice that we are to be about putting on the new self.  This is a choice, minute by minute.  But we have the power, the option, the choice to do so.  The next several verses talk about laying aside the old self of falsehood and anger.  Verse 27 says that when we allow falsehood or anger into our lives, we “…give the devil opportunity.”  Satan will keep you so bound up by your lies or anger that you are so inward focused and outward unproductive and destructive that God can not renew you or use you.

We are to forgive as Jesus forgave.  Wow!  That’s a lot of forgiveness!  I can’t do this on my own, but the Holy Spirit can give me the power to.  It is a choice of the will.  Then the emotions will line up.  But when we don’t forgive we can’t grow up or be “sanctified”.  We are stuck and our hearts are cut off from God’s cleansing and renewal.

As I began to walk the path of forgiveness, the Holy Spirit showed me my heart and what I needed to ask forgiveness for. He humbled me before those that I needed to forgive. Then He filled my up with so much joy and release that I wanted to forgive all others.  If you are stuck in unforgiveness, read God’s word, see how much you were forgiven, see how much it cost the Father and the Son, and see how it is keeping you from being able to move forward in your relationship with Christ and with others. 

Hint for the Day:  Know the difference between aggressive anger and assertive anger.

Aggressive Anger                                             Assertive anger

Seeks to punish person                                     Seeks to help person
                                                                          who does wrong

Does not care about the                                    Tries to be understanding
other person’s point of

 Is stubborn, immovable,                                    Is flexible and willing to seek

and demanding.                                                alternatives.

 Is condemning and judgmental.              Recognizes we all have faults.

Has high expectations of                                   Knows even the finest people 

everyone.                                                         Sometimes makes mistakes.

Cares about what happens to                Cares about the welfare of others.

Holds grudges.                                     Knows the value of forgiving.

Does not notice one’s own                    Recognizes that one can always

areas of weaknesses.                            Improve.

Before you communicate:

1.      Do not attempt to establish your own superiority

2.      Make sure anger is constructive
3.      Be aware of responsiveness of recipient
4.      Consider feelings and circumstances of recipient (timing is everything)!

As you communicate:

1.      Discriminate essential from non-essential problems.

2.      Confront problems as soon as possible.
3.      Stick to the subject.
4.      Be honest about your feelings (I statements).
5.      Avoid terms of exaggeration.
6.      Refrain from character assassination.
7.      Listen to understand
8.      Give self a time limit.
9.      Don’t ask loaded questions.
10.  Keep positive attitude.
11.  Be tactful about when and where
12.  Remember that winning is not the goal.

These suggestions are taken from Les Carter’s book The Anger Workbook.

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