Misplaced Anger

1 Thessalonians 4:3 “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified….”

Anger. It’s showing up everywhere. In all kinds of situations, all kinds of people. To say we’ve become an easily-offended society understates the issue. We are living in an atmosphere of misplaced anger, where we would rather focus on the speck in someone else’s eye than deal with our own planks. Christians should know better.

Even when anger is justified, we are warned not to let the sun go down on our wrath (Ephesians 4:26). It’s important to deal with anger when the first hint of resentment makes its way to our consciousness. Recently someone reneged on a major commitment to me. At first, I was stunned, then as the reality began to sink in, I found myself replaying the consequences in my mind. The offense started to take hold. I knew if I didn’t deal with it right then, the negativity would grow into full blown anger.

I had a choice: continue to stew about it, or replace the resentment with something better. I shifted my focus to the Lord, recalled Scripture, sang praises, and asked the Holy Spirit to help me forgive. I believed the Lord would work out the situation for my good, but I wanted to trust him before it resolved. So I fanned the flames of worship instead of anger.

The circumstance turned out better than I could have imagined. But the greater victory probably occurred in my soul. As I resisted the pull toward resentment and anger, the Lord was able to unearth areas in my own life that needed washing. He answered my prayers, and threw in some sanctification along the way.

God wills for each of us to be sanctified, to be made pure, holy. It’s not a once-and-done process. Every day we face life in a fallen world. When injustices erupt, we are called, as God’s children, to deal with them in a righteous manner. Meeting sin with sin—anger with anger—rejection with rejection—never works.

Although we will never be able to stop all sin and anger, we must be willing to allow God’s sanctifying fire to burn out the misplaced anger in ourselves. Let’s not contribute to our “angri-culture.” Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to take our resentments and turn them into something far better than anger.

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