How often do you get angry? I don’t mean just irritated, I mean really angry. I’m talking about being “mad” enough to throw things or even strike someone. As an example, road rage immediately comes to mind for me. There are more and more incidents reported of road rage resulting in the use of a weapon – whether it be a gun, a knife or the car itself.
I have experienced it. I was once angry enough at my wife that I felt like I was lifting my arm up to strike her even though I had really never moved it. But it felt to me like I had. That’s the time we need to walk away and pray for God’s forgiveness. You see, that kind of anger is not only dangerous to you and everyone around you, but it is also sin. I believe it is born of some other deep-seated bad feelings in our hearts and spirits. It stays there for a while and it stews, then steams and then boils; and when it boils over, it becomes rage.
I think most anger is a product of time plus an unforgiving spirit. You say “I don’t have an unforgiving spirit, I forgive people”. If you have experienced anger nearing the point of rage, I doubt that’s true. If you sit and meditate, pray and listen, God’s spirit will bring the source of your anger to the surface. I can tell you, this is truth. It happened to me. Somewhere in your life, someone has hurt you and you did nothing about it but bury that hurt deep down where you couldn’t feel it any more. Eventually, something happens that causes the boiling anger to surface.
When we are hurt, emotionally, we need to immediately pray over it and ask the Lord for the strength to forgive. It’s never really easy for us. Until we discuss it with God, own it, ask for the strength to forgive and then forgive the person outloud or to their face, when possible, the hurt will continue to fester until one day, you just might injure or even kill yourself and/or someone else. And here’s the kicker – God cannot forgive you until you forgive others first. It is written in the Lord’s prayer: “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors“. (Matt 6:12) In the prayer we ask God to forgive us as we forgive others. So, if you don’t forgive others on an ongoing basis, don’t expect God to forgive you regularly either. (Matt 6:14-15)
Forgiveness is necessary for a clean spirit. With a clean spirit, you will have a great crown in heaven. (Matt 18:1-5) But if you leave this life with an unforgiving spirit, anger and hatred, you just may find yourself in a not-so-happy place, for eternity. (Galatians 5:19-21)