Anger Management


On several unrelated occasions recently, I've been asked, "Is it wrong to stay mad at someone, and not let it go?"

The human emotion of anger is not wrong in itself.  Things happen to all of us that cause a passionate reaction - we all get mad.  In many cases, this is the correct and emotionally healthy response to have.  To use a little Christianese: getting angry is not a sin.

BUT...

Ephesians 4:21-31(NLT)
21 Since you have heard all about him and have learned the truth that is in Jesus,22 throw off your old evil nature and your former way of life, which is rotten through and through, full of lust and deception. 23 Instead, there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes. 24 You must display a new nature because you are a new person, created in God's likeness -- righteous, holy, and true. 25 So put away all falsehood and "tell your neighbor the truth" because we belong to each other. 26 And "don't sin by letting anger gain control over you." Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a mighty foothold to the Devil. 28 If you are a thief, stop stealing. Begin using your hands for honest work, and then give generously to others in need. 29 Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. 30 And do not bring sorrow to God's Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he is the one who has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior. 
When we are "in Christ," we have been made new, and we are being made even newer.  Bitterness, rage, anger, hash words, and slander all belong to the "pre-Jesus" human condition.  So,as we throw off the old evil nature and former way of life, we experience the spiritual renewal that makes us righteous, holy, and true.  Forgiveness is to happen on the day of the offense.  When that doesn't happen, that anger gains control over us.  When you hold a grudge, that grudge actually has a hold on you.
SO...Matthew 6:14-15(NLT)14 "If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins." -Jesus  In light of Scripture, you may still find yourself burning with this thought, "Well, I have a right to be angry and stay angry if I want to!"  And, of course, you do have that right and the freedom to make that choice.  HOWEVER...1 John 2:9-11(NLT) 9 If anyone says, "I am living in the light," but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is still living in darkness. 10 Anyone who loves other Christians is living in the light and does not cause anyone to stumble. 11 Anyone who hates a Christian brother or sister is living and walking in darkness. Such a person is lost, having been blinded by the darkness.   Is there anything you're holding onto?  Any grudge that needs to be released?  Any forgiveness that needs to be given?   May you find in Jesus the strength and wisdom and grace and peace to just let it go, and may you experience the liberation of being free from the clutches of your anger.

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