Dwelling on Anger
Then when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. James 1:15 NKJV
If we give entrance to an offense because of intense hurt or pain, hatred born of anger will slowly but surely displace the eternal life and forgiveness of God in our lives. Therefore we must guard our hearts, zealously assuring that they remain free from unresolved offenses.
James speaks of desires that give birth to sin and death. When desires (passions) or feelings of anger are allowed to go unchecked in our thought life, they leave the womb of the hidden and silent and come forth into the tangible and present as sin.
Often the progression goes something like this: Someone offends you, and at first you only think about the offense occasionally. You entertain what you would really like to say to the offender if you were ever given the chance. If the offender is someone you’ve had a relationship with for a while, you might replay former infractions you have stored in your memory banks.
Now the offense has grown and claims more of your thought life. The next time you see the individual who offended you, you are uncomfortable with them. You avoid looking them in the eye, and you feel either a false sense of superiority or a distasteful distancing from them. It is not long before you find yourself becoming short and impatient with this person. You are upset when you even hear them praised by another. This is resentment.
The sin begins. Anger moves from temporary displeasure to enduring resentment and then progresses to rage—and rage seeks a form of release. It is too uncomfortable to hold within for very long, and you end up lashing out through gossip and slander.
When this sin creeps in, death soon follows in the form of broken relationships, destroyed trust, and deep roots of bitterness. Joy and peace are replaced by bitter feelings and vengeful attitudes. This is not what our Father desires for us. He wants us to experience life in all its fullness!
Do you find it hard to let go of things that have upset you? Instead of holding onto the hurt, surrender. Forgive. Release your anger and resentment. Stop justifying your rage and allow the Holy Spirit to walk with you on the path of life. Ask Him to bring forth His fruit in your life:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22–23 NKJV
*Adapted from Be Angry But Don’t Blow It: Maintaining Your Passion Without Losing Your Cool(Thomas Nelson, 2000).
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