by Pastor Tim Burt
One day in the local section of the newspaper, there was a mugshot picture of this guy that looked really scary. He had brutally raped and killed a woman and did things I would rather not describe. This guy was not someone who you would like to put up in your house for a couple of weeks, a couple of days, or even a couple of minutes. If you were forced to, you wouldn't rest for ten seconds.
Ephesians 4:26-27 (NIV) says, "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."
That word foothold is a Greek word meaning "limited occupancy" —letting someone live in a place for a while. That is what we give the devil when we let the sun go down in our anger. We give the devil residence in our mind and heart, and our surroundings. The thought of me voluntarily giving the devil any place in my life would be equal to letting that criminal mentioned above, stay in my home. I can’t let it happen! Why not let the sun go down in anger? You don’t because anger from unresolved issues takes root and evolves to bitterness as it grows—and it does grow—like cancer. How does it grow? It grows by you replaying the issues that have made you angry over and over in your mind. The roots of anger are that much harder to pull out and deal with later. So, the answer is, never let them root in you to begin with!
Anger is not sin when kept in check. It is actually a God-given emotion. We are to use our anger toward the enemy of our soul and his efforts to move us out of our love walk. Romans 6:12 (NKJV) says, "Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts."
We need to keep anger contained and take a bigger assessment of all that is going on around us. We need to ask ourselves, Am I really needing to feel this mad or am I in a bad mood for some reason? Did I get enough sleep? Am I tired and crabby? Am I making a mountain out of a molehill? Am I taking myself and this situation way to seriously or can I just chill? Do I love the person I am angry with and do I really want to hurt them with sinful anger?
The foundational truth of our Christianity is found in Romans 5:8 (NKJV) "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
Jesus forgave all our sins and transgressions from the start. It's time for me to transfer that same forgiveness to others. It's not that it is always easy. It's just that it is always right! But you don't know what he/she has done to me! are the words that normally follow. My response is this: You don't know all the offenses you've committed against the Lord, but I am sure they are more than what that person has done to you! I have found that when I obey the Lord by faith, and forgive and move past the offense that made me angry, my mind and emotions soon follow and respond line up. I feel better because I know I have obeyed God.
Learning this has been worth the effort. It has helped me to be much more even keel in my temperament and how I work through things. I refuse to give Satan any "limited occupancy" in my life, daily world, or home. I refuse to hinder my intimate relationship with God over bitterness and unforgiveness. I refuse to let the devil eat my lunch because I’m being lazy and let anger happen. The cost is too high and people are too precious! And God has been so merciful to me! I need to practice mercy, not anger! How about you?
Proverbs 19:11 (NKJV) “The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, And his glory is to overlook a transgression.”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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