Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet (or peaceful) spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. I Peter 3:3-4
There are times when we will feel angry. Anger is not sin in and of itself and there is such a thing as righteous anger. Expressing the fear or pain behind our anger can be really important. We can even express our anger itself without sinning – the thing to watch for is when the anger slips into sinful anger or we hold on to the anger for too long and become resentful, bitter, or hateful. It is really key to watch our motives as we seek to express anger. If we are seeking to hurt the other person, that is a sign we are involved in sinful anger.
SOME BASICS ABOUT THE HOLY LIFE TO WHICH GOD CALLS ALL BELIEVERS IN CHRIST:
- God desires all of us to receive Christ as Savior and LORD of our lives and to live in victory over sin. God calls “sin” anything that would hurt our relationship with Him, that would hurt us, or that would hurt others – this includes violence, rage, sinful anger, and hatred.
Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. Isaiah 58:4
The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. Psalm 11:5
- He gives us the example and definition of love in how He loves us unconditionally. This is how we are to love others.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
- He commands us to love each other and He measures our love for Him by the way we love other people.
We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. 1 John 4:19-20
“The King (God) will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'” Matthew 25:40
- God instructs believers how to treat those who mistreat us by overcoming evil with good. We are not to take revenge.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse… Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:14, 16-21
- God commands believers not to argue, complain, quarrel, or fight.
Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil… 2 Timothy 2:23-24
It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling. Proverbs 20:3
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. Matthew 5:21-22
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. James 4:1-3
- Pride says that we are above other people or we are above or equal to God. Pride causes us to justify all other sins. When we crucify our pride with Christ, we are free to live humbly before God and we see ourselves in proper relationship to God and to other people.
Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished. Proverbs 16:5
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18
“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6
- God calls followers of Christ to be gentle with everyone.
To speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. Titus 3:2
But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect… 1 Peter 3:15
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. James 3:17
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:19-20
With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love… Ephesians 4:2
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Philippians 4:5
WHAT DO I DO IF I HAVE MESSED UP?
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. James 4:7-10
Let God know you can’t do this and you desperately need His power to walk in holiness and obedience to Him!
THE OLD HAS GONE AWAY, ALL THINGS ARE MADE NEW:
- Believers in Christ are to live as though we are dead to sin and this world and alive to God through Christ (Romans 6:3-14).
- We are to not allow the sinful flesh to rule in our lives anymore, but we are to be filled with God’s Spirit and live in the power of His Spirit at all times (Galatians 5:13-25).
We will be talking about living in victory over hatred, sinful anger, rage, and violence in the next post.
YOU CAN HAVE A SAVING RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST AND HE CAN RADICALLY CHANGE YOUR HEART AND LIFE!
If you don’t know Jesus as both your Savior and the LORD of your life, I invite you to come to Him today and to follow Him for the rest of your life. No matter what you have done, you are not beyond His reach and the salvation He offers freely to you. He can give you spiritually abundant life now and He will rescue you from condemnation to hell (which is what we all deserve as sinful people). He will allow you to enter into life with Him forever in heaven if you choose to receive His gift of Life and His Lordship.
If God has empowered you to overcome hatred, sinful anger, rage, or violence, please share your story with us. I may even ask you if I can share it anonymously as a post.
NOTE – This post is written to help those struggling themselves with hatred, sinful anger, rage, and/or violence. If you are not safe because of someone else’s violence or rage – please safely reach out for appropriate help if you or your children are in danger. (Some resources may be – Focus Ministries, The Salvation Army, National Hotline for Domestic Violence – please evaluate everything any person says, including myself) in the light of Scripture.)
Also, please reach out for help if you believe that others are not safe with you because you struggle with rage or violence. Celebrate Recovery may be able to help you find God’s victory over rage.
Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray – explains how to give up all of self so that God may fill us with His holy power and victory daily. This is a link to a free download of the book.
Verses on anger to study and memorize this week in your quiet time with God.
How to Interact with a Destructive Person – Leslie Vernick
Killing Anger by John Piper