How is it possible to be angry without sinning? God’s Word makes it very clear that if we look on someone with lust, we commit sexual immorality; and if we hate, we have already committed murder. God does not differentiate between venial – minor; and mortal – deadly sins.
Sin is all the same to Him. It is missing the mark of His true perfection, like missing the bullseye in marksmanship. He does give us clues in His Word, however, on how to escape the clutches of temptation that flirt with our feelings and tickle the imagination of our mind (1 Corinthians 10:13).
As an Italian, I grew up in a home well-acquainted with anger. Rage was a common denominator in our household. As an adult, I could not understand why I got so angry about stupid things, until God made it very clear that I subconsciously allowed my negative emotions to build up into a volcano.
Also, though I was slow to anger and to speak, I was not quick to listen. I did not produce the righteousness that God desires from us (James 1:19). I stuffed my feelings all day long, not forgiving and moving on, but burying them in my subconscious mind in an attempt not to nag or harass others.
Then, at the “last straw”, I blew up; and my feelings erupted all over the unsuspecting victim of my wrath. The emotion of past incidents from my subconscious mind added to the expression of my current anger.
I did not curse, or belittle or attack; I simply screamed out my feelings at the top of my lungs. People could no longer ignore me, because the meek and mild servant transformed into a raging animal.
My former husband says he could no longer deal with my outbursts, and that is why he insisted that we get a divorce. My current husband felt the same way; however, he brainstormed with me to uncover the reasons behind my outbursts.
We discovered two key principles that helped to solve this problem. The first was for me to fully gain the attention of the hearer and to help them to seriously consider my feelings and needs before they made decisions that affected me, even if they did not agree with me or see any significance in the importance of my concerns.
The second was for me to gain all the facts about issues that bothered me, rather than jumping to conclusions and getting hurt or angry needlessly. It took much prayer and journaling and asking questions, but eventually my tirades diminished.
Now, I either understand the real reason behind the other person’s words or behavior, and I feel compassion; or I get their attention and insist that they take me seriously before making any decisions that affect me. Then, there was no reason for me to explode.
Anger is a God-given emotion to protect us, not to use to attack other people. God wants our anger to come from righteousness, not selfishness, and He helps us to cope with our feelings as we learn the difference.
Father God, help us, when we are displeased with a situation, to gain all the facts of the issue rather than to jump to conclusions, and to listen carefully and not to make assumptions. Help us to take deep breaths and to relax our negative emotions before we discuss any conflicts. We want to turn to You to help us to keep our relationships healthy and whole.
Our tongue is difficult to tame (James 3:8); so remind us that without You, we can do nothing worthwhile (John 15:5), and that we are a ship without a sail and rudder, totally lost at sea. Help us to learn to allow patience to have her perfect work in our soul, so that we will be complete, lacking nothing that we need (James 1:4). You give us eternal blessings and make us glad with the joy of Your presence within us (Psalm 21:6).
Thought for the Day:
Dealing with negative emotions is easier when we permit the feelings to simmer for a while, and to give our self time to journal our thoughts and emotions first, in order to discover what is actually bothering us; this also allows us to give other people the benefit of the doubt, and to take our negative feelings to God in prayer for His clarity and wisdom.