Be Angry, Not Bitter
Secret betrayals, custody disputes, escalating attorney bills, emotional roller coasters, broken families – the dream of happily ever after shattered. There is a lot to be angry about. Sometimes it’s not only with a former spouse or loved one. When our beloved is taken from us, our anger may be directed toward God. Feeling alone, we cry out, “Why me?” As we question and grieve, anger can simmer and sink in.
It’s OK to be angry. In fact, anger is a natural emotion and often it’s justified. The Bible even affirms anger and provides guidance, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” (James 1:19 NIV) Scripture tells us that Jesus got angry many times – with the religious leaders and even his own disciples. At the temple, Jesus also had a public display of anger when He discovered how this holy place had become a marketplace.
While the Bible does not prohibit anger, it does direct us on how to handle it in a healthy way, thereby avoiding bitterness. In his sermon titled, “Killing What’s Killing You: Bitterness/Anger,” Traders Point Pastor Aaron Brockett said, “Bitterness is the result of unresolved, unforgiven anger and resentment built up over time.”
The longer we allow anger to grow, the more likely it will not only become a habitual reaction but a way of life. And it’s not healthy. Trust me. I’ve tried it. In my former marriage, we avoided confrontation and buried issues instead of talking through them, but they never went away. One day years later, I let it all out – an avalanche of anger. Albeit justified, it wasn’t pretty. That’s why Paul warns us, “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” (Ephesians 4:26 NLT)
We all have struggles, and they should never be minimized or ignored. But working through our disappointments and devastations will allow new life to eventually emerge. Our circumstances will indeed change us, but hopefully change us for good. As Aaron reminded us, “We keep wanting to change our circumstances and God keeps wanting to change us.”
Let’s work through our anger – together – so that our trials may enable us to become better, not bitter.
“Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” (Hebrews 12:15, NLT)
To view this week’s sermon click here: Killing What’s Killing You: Bitterness/Anger
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