Thursday, February 26, 2009

My Thoughts on Anger

I find anger a very challenging and mysterious emotion to deal with. Culturally, especially for women, it is often not accepted, and we grow up and continue to shame ourselves when we become angry or totally dismiss the emotion, thus ending up not really dealing with it, and unfortunately, watch it grow in to either depression or bitterness.

I believe it has been said that angeris one of the stages of healing. It doesn't really feel like it, but I am trying to give it the benefit of the doubt, and allow it to knit its way in to my healing.

I have been teasing through the details of righteous anger and unrighteous anger. I am not sure if what I am thinking is entirely right, but it is where I am at right now, and I am mulling it over. Feel free to share with me your thoughts.

As far as I can tell unrighteous anger (that which is not consistent with God's will and His ways) pins me down and gets in the way of my spiritual growth and healing. Righteous anger (that which is godly and grieves over sin) helps to define more of who I am, helping me to heal and helping me to grow in righteousness.

In evaluating our anger, we are to first seek God's truth. Is the "thing" that we are angry at in accordance with what God says is wrong or contrary to what God says is right and true? In prayer and reading God's Word we can seek counsel from the Spirit and ask Him to reveal to our hearts and minds the source and reason for our anger.

If we realize that our anger is unrighteous or that we have sinned in our anger, we need to ask the Lord to forgive us, and perhaps others, as well. We lay it down at His feet and ask Him to wipe away our anger and help us to walk in ways that are obedient to Him. This is a constant act of worship and awareness as we acknowledge our sinfulness before God, and acknowledge the saving power of Jesus to make us right with God.

If we realize that it is righteous anger, we need to also acknowledge exactly what it is that we are angry about. What wrong are we abhorring and feeling such a strong emotion against? What are we coming up against that God's Word says is wrong? Is it gossip, betrayal, deceit, injustice or any number of other acts of evil? As we are able to define that which is angering us, we are better able to define who we are, created in the image of God. For instance, if we are angry because gossip is wrong, we realize that sincerity and truthfulness or confidentiality are important to us. Our anger becomes a tool that helps us to define the good and godly traits in us that God has written on our hearts. I suppose if we do not have anger against that which is evil and wrong, perhaps we do not have a true love for that which is godly and good.

Once we are able to define our anger, repent of any unrighteous aspects of it, understand its value in defining who we are, we are then able to begin to embrace it. We can begin to trust the Lord that bit by bit, in good and right time, and in His tender care that he will weave it in to the redemptive healing process that He is at work with in our lives.

These are just my thoughts for today, dear reader, as I wrestle with a growing sense of anger within my heart. I am trying to uproot any bitterness that is trying to sprout up, and trying to let God use my anger for my good as he shapes and fashions me to be more like Jesus. Somehow. Is it simple and easy? How I wish I could say that, but I am believing that God can do immeasurable more than I could hope for or ask for, even in this.

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