From Anger to Blessing!

Everyone, good or bad, gets angry. God even gets angry. Christ too, once became so angry that He overturned the market tables inside the gates of the temple. There are differences however between feeling anger, expressing anger, and maintaining anger. Anger is a natural consequence of the Adam-like nature and as we move from the Adam-like nature to the Christ-like nature we learn…and desire… to control our anger. Initially, we feel anger, but feeling anger can move into expressing anger which comes in two forms; one is productive and the other negative. Productive expression is when we calmly acknowledge, and explain, why we felt anger over a certain situation, and what we believe should be put into place to prevent the cause of that anger in the future. This helps us avoid circumstances that cause anger and helps us comminicate our feelings and needs to those with whom we interact.

Negative expression occurs when we openly express our feelings in a manner that angers others and we offer no constructive explanation of, or methods for, preventing the cause of these feelings. A negative reaction demonstrates that we have not controlled our anger, have not directed it toward solutions based in love and respect, and that we do not actively seek resolution. This is detrimental to those around us and detrimental to our soul salvation.

The act of maintaining our anger is encouraged by Satan and must be overcome. The memory of what caused our anger may serve to keep us from harm, but the maintenance or harboring of anger works to cloud our judgment, prevent change and growth, and robs us of love. It also robs us of the ability to maintain the fruits of the Holy Spirit which strives to guide us toward the godly love expressed by Christ. Harboring anger can also make us ill because it destroys our peace and creates anxiety, hate, and other detrimental emotions. It also means that we have not forgiven.

Forgiving others is necessary to obtaining our own forgiveness through Holy Communion. Our worthiness when taking Holy Communion is dependent upon either our forgiving others or sincerely striving to forgive others for the harm they caused. When Christ was asked what the most important commandment was, he said that we should love God with all our being and love our neighbor as ourselves. God has granted grace to us on the condition that we take the sacrament of Holy Communion worthily.

God understands that sometimes we continue to feel the hurt caused by someone or some deed. He therefore accepts our honest efforts to work toward forgiveness knowing that this effort may not produce results overnight but will eventually. We can promote forgiveness in our heart through the powerful tool of prayer asking God to help us forgive, and asking for the peace that Christ said He gladly gives us. We cannot condemn and judge the person who brought us harm because God has clearly stated that He will take vengeance for us and that our job is to forgive. Our worthiness depends on us doing so.

We don’t know what conditions exist in the person who brought us harm. They may not yet know God, they may be pawns in Satan’s hands, they may have suffered abuse, they may labor under the captivity of jealousy from which they cannot escape. Or, we may have misinterpreted what they said or did. Thus God asks us to wait, to trust that He will handle their indiscretions, and asks that we forgive so we are not burdened by their faults and failings. Furthermore God tells us that He will bless us for striving to behave in this manner. It is up to the other person to seek their own forgiveness from God and those they harmed and make restitution for the harm they caused. If they don’t seek forgiveness or try to make restitution, God will deal with them.

Christ brought His message in love and gentleness and then allowed His message to take root as men took that message home with them. We too can bring a message, but it must not be presented in a manner which will evoke anger. Scripture explains that in time the power of love and prayer, and of our personal example, can cause our message to take root. Psalm 133:1 tells us, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”

Being angry with someone who caused our suffering, when God offers us a blessing for handling it correctly, makes no sense. We receive something incredibly valuable by handling our anger correctly. Satan may inspire someone to hurt us, but God can turn it into a blessing for us. This is one of the most magnificent miracles of our life of faith and those who harm us have no idea of the gift that the harm they brought us can actually provide for us!

If we learn how this process works, we can overcome a great deal. We can help ourselves and we can help others. We can stand firm when we are attacked knowing that God loves us and will create a miracle from our experience. Even if we fall prey to fear or anger temporarily, we can work out of it, rise above it and bring joy to the heart of God in the process.

Colossians 3:21 tells us: “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” Hebrews 13:6 tells us: “So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me”. Hebrews 13:16 tells us: “But to do good and to communicate forget not; for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” Matthew 7:12 tells us: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them….” And Proverbs 16:24 tells us: “Pleasant words are as a honeycomb; sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” Proverbs 8:32 tells us: “….for blessed are they that keep my ways.”

Anger has its place and sometimes we must be angry. But in most cases we become angry over something that doesn’t really matter. Scripture teaches us that the bottom line is to flee from evil, but love the soul, and where possible, keep peace with one another. We must work together to learn and teach God’s words so we can be a part of the First Resurrection, and we must overcome the traps Satan lays for us. But some people are governed by evil and they are best left to God to handle. Some are so arrogant that they would never consider that what they do is wrong. But we must consider that there is the possibility that if we refuse to forgive someone and retain our anger toward them, it could be that God has answered their pleas for forgiveness and they will have our place at the wedding feast because of our inability to forgive.

What is imperative is that we overcome the tendency to make a blanket judgment of what others do. Scripture teaches us to love one another, care for one another, and forgive one another, but not to judge one another….that is up to God alone. Our job is to continually examine with honesty if we are doing what God asks of us. We are to let our anger go and to forgive all harm even if we must remember it to protect ourselves in the future. While we might be better served to avoid interaction with those who are governed by evil, God asks that we always forgive the soul because only He… not we… know what causes that soul to sin. If we strive to do as He asks, He promises to look after everything else.

“For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:14

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