18 May The Bitter Truth About Anger
James is 75 years old. Astute, content, and quite likeable, he has lived his life well and is now enjoying the peace and serenity of his golden years. Everything seems hunky dory, and one would assume that James is extremely pleased and well sorted with his life; until he meets his eldest daughter!
When James meets his eldest daughter every single time, he immediately goes ‘’in retrospect’’ mode. As they watch in wondrous bewilderment, he slowly but firmly opens his “Childhood Grievance Box” , which he has been storing safely and secretly within his subconscious mind; nursing old, torn, tattered and senile wounds…
James goes on, over and over again as to how his parents could not guide him well or disperse the necessary finances to realize his dream of becoming a Medical Doctor, like some of his ‘’much influential cousins’’. The story has been re- told innumerable times already. The details are clear and concise in his mind and so in the minds of his listeners too.
Wonder what is wrong with James??
An unsuspecting outsider listening to James’ ranting might get astonished at the lurid and vivid details of the story that happened quite literally in ancient times. He would be compelled to think that James is nursing a wound that was inflicted on him quite recently.
Wonder what is wrong with James??
Before we jump to conclusions about James not playing with a full deck, let us examine as to what eats his brain.
Romans 3:14 – “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
The Toxicity of Bitterness
Job 7:11 -“Therefore I will not restrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.
James is bitter! The message is loud and clear.
“Come what may, I will not pardon you for what you have done. I will remember the sordid details till my last breath”
Bitterness is a toxic pill that kills us inch by inch. Mental health experts term it as ‘embitterment’. It is classified as one of the most toxic and dangerous of negative emotions.
For those of us who have been wronged unpardonably by someone, this could ring a bell. Bitterness destroys our body and soul completely if not dealt with at the right time. It seeps through our soul and poisons our thoughts, words, and actions, ultimately crippling our vital organs, and challenging our very own existence. We sway between sanity and insanity when we dwell too much on this destructive emotion.
Anger and Resentment
Bitterness drags you back to the same ‘past situation’ all over again, releasing cortisol into your body, and making you boil and seethe at what caused the damage. Bitterness causes anger, resentment and rage at the people involved in the ‘’perceived crime’’.
Anger leads to sin.
The Book of Ephesians 4:26-27 tells us- “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.
Anger weakens our resources and opens a door for the devil to enter our body. Therefore the Lord directs us not to harbour anger in our mind beyond sunset. Anger is equated to Murder, and liable to the hell of fire (Mathew 5:21-22)
It is horrifying and alarming to note that the things that we brood on, and the reasons which decay our soul, need not always be justifiable from the eyes of a beholder.
Let us examine the story of James and evaluate if there is a chance that he could have been wrong in feeling bitter and angry. James could indeed be wrong and could be unnecessarily rubbing salt into a wound that does not even exist in the first place.
Let us imagine a hypothetical situation wherein we meet a person who knew James’ parents well. He/she would throw a very different perspective to this entire story.
James’ parents may not have made an intentional mistake for all that we know. It could be that they were struggling financially; neck deep in debt.
It could also be that they may not have had the resources to facilitate his dreams. There could have been other legitimate reasons which James wasn’t aware of. There could be very many reasons that demanded understanding and empathy from James’ part.
Nevertheless, we see that the person nursing the wound of bitterness is full of spite and resentment, and is incapable of thinking rationally. Bitterness is destructive and cannot be easily pulled out by its roots.
Job 21:25 -Another dies in bitterness of soul, never having tasted of prosperity.
Once bitterness settles in, anger is inevitable. Anger causes you to despise the person and the circumstance that caused it. Anger boils from within, causing deep gnashing wounds in your soul as you progress…You search for newer and more convincing reasons to defend the wrong done to you. You keep building the bricks up…
Eventually, you succeed in creating an active, frothing volcano in your mind, about to pour out its lava at any given moment!
What the Word of God says
Romans 12:18 tells us – If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
When God says, ’’if it is possible’’, we recognize that God understands that some emotions can be difficult to handle. It is quite empathetically that He tells us to try and live peacefully with all, as far as possible.
If we do not succeed in making peace with the person or situation at hand, our God gives us a reassurance, ‘’never to avenge’’. He promises us to act on our behalf if we so trust Him and decide to hide under His wings. The Holy Bible gives us very clear and specific directions as to how to deal with anger and bitterness.
Our God is a living God. He knows every emotion, hurt and feeling of anger that scar our mind and body. He knew that certain emotions like anger, bitterness and unforgiveness can significantly impact our mental and physical well being, and may not be controlled well, try as we might. All we need to do at this point is to trust Him, and devour His words that provide the mystical potion for our wounds.
Biblical citations not only throw insights into instances of anger and bitterness, but also offer us peaceful solutions that lead us to a catharsis.
Romans 12:19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
Importance of forgiveness to bust Anger and Bitterness
Matthew 6:15 – but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Ephesians 4:31-32 tells us the importance of forgiveness in our lives. The lord tells us to remove all bitterness, anger, malice and clamour from our minds, and be kind and forgiving, just as our God forgave us, his people, in the name of his son Jesus Christ.
Forgiving someone when you have been irrevocable hurt is not easy. Sometimes, it may not be humanly possible to forgive and forget. We hold on to the adage, ‘’you don’t understand how badly I have been hurt. I can never forgive.” We tend to look in horror and disbelief at the person who tries to correct us, saying, ‘’ How can you be so insensitive! Don’t you know that I have been hurt??”
But, one must remember how much we are loved and cherished by our Father in heaven. God’s love for us is infinite that he gave His only son to save us from eternal doom. Jesus gave His life not just for us, but also for the sins that we committed and are yet to commit on earth. He has already paid the price for all the sins that we commit until the end of this world. How much of an everlasting and pure love is that?
Our heavenly Father is also very firm when he tells us, ‘’ if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.’’. We have to forgive because we have already been forgiven by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
If anyone had any right to be bitter and angry, it is our Lord Jesus Christ himself. He was tormented, humiliated, misunderstood, mocked, spat on, and beaten in the most despicable manner. He took all these upon Himself without any reproach or bitterness towards anyone including His Heavenly Father, who willed him to go through this persecution.
Our Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins and also for the sins committed by our enemies and oppressors. It is for this reason why we must set aside our differences and forgive our enemies. If God can sacrifice His own son thus; if Christ so loved the world that He gave himself up for us; what excuse do we have to keep our minds tainted with the seeds of unforgiveness?
When we harbor hatred, anger and unforgiveness in our hearts, remember our sweet Jesus who seems to tell us, ‘’child, but I have already paid for your transgressions and also for those of your enemies’’
When we are hurt, we look towards ourselves; our pride; our vanity; our ego…
Let go in Jesus’ name so that He is not crucified over and over again.
John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
Pray Incessantly for the Person who Hurt you
Prayer is a powerful tool that we can use against all kinds of attacks from the evil one. Prayer is the Holy weapon
that we can use against the Devil when we are at our weakest moments.
Incessant, continuous, and passionate prayer seep through our veins, impart a sense of peace, calm, and realization in our minds. We are inspired to forgive, forget and get through all kinds of malice done against us if we pray.
A tremendously reassuring aspect of prayer is that when we go deeper into this meditative union with God, it melts away all kinds of evil emotions from our mind and body, and leaves us unblemished and pure. It is not always possible to pray and forgive. We need the grace of God to forgive and forget, and help us through this process.
As we progress in prayer, we soon realize that we are incapable of holding on to negative emotions against the person we pray for. Acceptance, forgiveness and love are natural courses that we take while we are in prayer.
When we pray, we:
- Make every effort to live in peace with all men (Hebrews 12:14)
- See to it that no one misses the grace of God (Hebrews 12:15)
- Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice (Ephesians 4:31)
- Are kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4: 32)
- Make sure that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many (Hebrews 12: 15)
- Understand the scripture perfectly when Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing “(Luke 23:34)
- Bless those who persecute you (Romans 12:14)
- Are not proud, but are willing to associate with people of low position. (Romans 12:16)
Let our loving Father in heaven help us to get through all kinds of negative emotions in life through forgiveness and prayer, and ensure that we have a special seat reserved for us in Paradise, engulfed in the everlasting love of our Lord Jesus Christ .
Ephesians 4:31 – Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.