I am the first person to admit…I am guilty of R-rated thoughts. Yes, in my mind I have been so angry I have committed murder. Thankfully, as a Christian, I have quickly learned what to do with those thoughts–repent and redirect. Replace the bad with the good. It takes a tremendous amount of desire and effort on my part to recognize those thoughts and how toxic they are to me and to redirect. It would be impossible for me to do this without the help of the Holy Spirit in my life and the power of God’s written word…the Bible.
Yes, everyone gets angry. Sometimes it is justified and sometimes it is not. But what does the Bible say about our anger? In Ephesians 4:26 it states, “In anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are angry.” Wow! God definitely knows how toxic anger can be in our lives. He continues to instruct in verse 27, “and do not give the devil a foothold.” Don’t go to bed and go to sleep until you get rid of your anger. God knows that if we don’t redirect our thoughts and delete our anger, we are opening the door of our lives to terrible things that not only hurt us, but can also devastate and hurt others. We can end up giving Satan ground in our lives.
After studying these verses four years ago, I discovered some residual anger in me. A lingering that I had allowed to “stick around”. I began to discover that this anger was “toxic” to me. It even carried a stench when I was “rubbed the wrong way”. What I mean by this is that I could hide the “old, lingering anger” and go about my day and when something happened that angered me anew it would accentuate the “lingering anger”. The two angers were unrelated but when coupled together in the same mind and body? Well, let’s just say….NOT GOOD…debilitating actually. Satan was having a field day with me and I was totally unaware!
Point of post…everyone gets angry. If I was a betting woman, I would bet everyone has R-rated thoughts. Yep, they do! The key is to recognize that anger and deal with it! For me, it meant getting less sleep for a while. I had to actually stay up and wrestle with God until I knew the anger was gone. For a visual…let me just say…I felt disheveled and even exhausted from the fight.
Picture hair messed up…clothes all twisted…and sweating but if that is what it took…so be it. I was tired of carrying the “sludge” that I didn’t even see for a time. Today it feels as if I lost 100 pounds. My heart and mind are light and airy. No anger. My armor against anger is strong and secure. But it didn’t come without effort on my part and a recognition of how deceiving the emotion of anger can be–even disguised as sadness or being frustrated!
I can’t help but want to write to the ESPN reporter Britt McHenry who recently attacked an attendant where Britt’s car had been impounded. In my opinion, I witnessed a murder through the use of words. I was utterly shocked at her personal and verbal attacks on a complete stranger and the right she felt she possessed to attack. She obviously, in her mind, had elevated herself as “above” the attendant. It was quite disgusting.
When I watched the video, I felt dirty as if I had been vomited on. Or worse, I felt the blood spatter from her words. Taking a step back, I thought about her anger, her insides. Her vivid, vile and abusive anger that exploded toward another person and went viral in just a few short hours. The Bible says clearly in Luke 6:45 that “out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks”. Boy did her heart get exposed! We all can learn from this “verbal murder” that went viral. Undiagnosed anger can lead to a dark heart that can bloody others in a skinny minute. That is not God’s best for us.
Take a look in the mirror of your heart today. Is there “residual anger?” Is there “new, fresh anger” that we are allowing to ripen in our hearts that could cause a “murder?” Words murder. They come from an angry heart. Don’t underestimate that any of us can be found “guilty of murder” with our words. That happens when we allow our anger to become sin.
Examine what place anger has in your own life. It can be disguised…and it can be debilitating. Deal…Deal…Deal…with it. Even if you have to go without sleep, do not let another sun go down while you are angry. If you deal, you will find the sunrise has never been prettier!
Ecclesiastes 7:9, ‘Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, For anger rests in the bosom of fools.”
Proverbs 16:32, “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.”
“For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson