by Pastor Tim Burt
I was recently talking with someone who was quite angry. I later found myself thinking more about it when suddenly the Lord spoke to me. He said, Angry people are steeped in unforgiveness. They are often mad at the world and sometimes Me. People cannot resolve anger issues until they learn to forgive.
I’ve been writing recently about forgiveness. Today I want to simply say that frequent anger is a sign there is unforgiveness going on. I would suggest that if you do get angry, even occasionally, and in any level of inappropriateness, you need to know your anger is rooted in unforgiveness. There is most likely resentment in your heart toward someone for something they did to hurt you, or something they did not do that you think they should have!
That must be dealt with! It won’t go away. It will live within you until you figure out why you are so mad or angry, and understand that it affects you and those around you in more negative ways than you could possibly imagine. So today I’ll talk about anger, and then later I’ll get to forgiveness.
Anger is a valid emotion. There are things that validly make us angry but, anger has a boundary and a line that isn’t to be crossed. We are instructed in Ephesians 4:26-27 NIV, “In your anger do not sin…” These verses are instructional and insightful saying “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold…” God clearly teaches us that anger in itself is not sin. When the emotion of anger is felt, it’s your cue to have a managed discussion working toward a resolve. If that doesn’t happen, it’s more often than not, carried to the point of sin. When that happens, it gives “…the devil a foothold.” Those words literally means giving the devil occupancy—a place to dwell. Do you really want to do that? Do you really want to let the devil book a room for an undetermined amount of time in your heart? I don’t think so! Especially since he’s fueling it!
For some people, their anger not only crosses the line of inappropriateness resulting in sin, but they practically invite the devil to sit down at their table and sign a long-term lease to live with them. How does that happen? Most anger issues are rooted in what is perceived as a repeated offense and that is a product of unforgiveness and not working through issues. When this happens, anger spreads like a cancer, sinks roots into your heart, and before long, even petty and unimportant grievances are treated with anger transforming into wrath.
Anger unrestrained will lead to all kinds of hurtful outbursts that will cause pain and regret. People that sin in their anger seldom stay on the issue they are angry over. They often draw past offenses and hurts to the scene. This is called the root of bitterness that grows deeper in unforgiveness and gets even more hurt! This leads to a swelling anger that can become the early stage of rage. Rage always leads to irrational thinking and poor if not horrible decisions! James 3:16 KJV, says it like this, “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.”
As words begin to erupt from this anger, they begin to flow and the devil now has a foothold. The words from that point will almost always be irrational and destructive leaving collateral damage behind. In many cases, those words do long-term damage that is difficult for people to recover from. And that all begins from a little unforgiveness (that at the beginning seems quite harmless) over something that was not appropriately talked and worked through!
God’s wisdom tells us the danger in letting our anger ever cross the boundaries of inappropriateness.
Proverbs 27:4 NIV says, “Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming…”
Proverbs 14:17 NIV says, “A quick-tempered man does foolish things….”
Proverbs 21:19 KJV says “It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.”
Proverbs 29:22 NIV says “An angry man stirs up dissension (strife), and a hot-tempered one commits many sins.”
Proverbs 22:24 NIV reveals that anger can affect others, even becoming like an infectious disease. It says, “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, and do not associate with one easily angered.”
Proverbs 25:23 NKJV says, “As the north wind brings rain: so does an angry countenance bring a backbiting tongue.” The word angry here literally means foam at the mouth and is referring to the evil look of unbridled anger. The term “backbiting tongue” refers to the abundance of evil words spoken that absolutely cover their target with a blanket of ill spoken and hurtful words.
If you are a person who frequently gets angry, then you—not those around you, are the problem. You’re hurting from getting caught in two things; unforgiveness and never learning how to work out of your anger. It often leads you wanting perfection (everyone obeying you and doing things exactly your way.) Your demand for perfection is born out of a need to personally control all of life around you because your tired of feeling hurt. This is all born out of unforgiveness. It is sinful and wrong. You need to switch your focus from the imperfections of others, to getting your own attitude right. People are not perfect and you have a view of yourself that is far too high. You are too forgiving of your own faults and too critical of others. You need to take on God’s temperament.
Psalms 103:8 reveals, “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.” God isn’t expecting people to meet His perfection. He had Jesus come and do that. Jesus was the only one who could. God is driven by love. That love started with Jesus living without sin and dying to bear the punishment of ours. Love began with God’s forgiveness, not fault-finding. We know people are imperfect and highly flawed. We should be looking to forgive, have mercy, show grace, and love them like God loves us, despite their faults.
God has chosen to see the best in His children, not the worst. He dwells on what we can become and not simply what we are at the moment. He dwells on building us up and not tearing us down. And this is where the practice of mercy, grace, and forgiveness obliterates anger and the root of it. Learn and practice this and you’ll be all the wiser and happier and love so much more of life!
Ephesians 4:26-27, “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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