This past weekend, I dealt with some family issues. Some things were said and done that hurt my Mom’s feelings and that never goes well with me. I love and honor my Mom and I don’t like to see her hurt. It is the same with my daughter and my grandchildren, they are absolutely off limits…at least in my book.
As I spoke on the phone with my daughter about this, I became angry for a few moments. However, in just a few seconds, the Lord arrested my thoughts and I began to hear scripture after scripture run through my mind…all dealing with anger and bitterness.
Lately, we have been talking about life, the Zoë life of God. Proverbs 4:23 tells us to keep our heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. If I want a continual flow of life, I am going to have to keep my heart lined up with the word and the ways of God. That means I cannot harbor bitterness, anger or unforgiveness.
I often hear people say ‘well, even Jesus was mad’ and I know that is true – but I want to show you a scripture I found today in the Amplified bible. It is found in Ephesians 4:26-27; Be angry (at sin—at immorality, at injustice, at ungodly behavior), yet do not sin; do not let your anger (cause you shame, nor allow it to) last until the sun goes down. And do not give the devil an opportunity to lead you into sin by holding a grudge, or nurturing anger, or harboring resentment, or cultivating bitterness.
We can be angry at the sin or at the behavior, but to keep our heart in check, we must continue to love the person and treat them the way God would want them treated. If we don’t, this scripture tells me that I open a door to the devil. We are to give NO PLACE to the devil and one of the major ways people give place to the devil is through anger, bitterness or holding grudges.
We see this truth again in 2 Cor. 2:10-11; If you forgive anyone anything, I too forgive [that one]; and what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of [and with the approval of] Christ, to keep Satan from taking advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his schemes.
You see, one of the biggest tools of the enemy is anger and unforgiveness – when we continue to hold anger and bitterness toward a person we are saying ‘here I am Satan, take advantage of me.’ I don’t know about you, but I refuse to give him that kind of power.
Mark 11:25-26 says; And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.
I have been forgiven of so much and I continue to be forgiven of much, I have no right to withhold forgiveness from anyone whom I feel has harmed me. And should I choose to withhold that forgiveness I only need to remind myself that when I do, God will do the same. To me, that is too great a cost.
Proverbs 14:30 says in the Amplified; “A calm and peaceful and tranquil heart is life and health to the body, but bitterness and envy are like rottenness to the bones.”
A calm, peaceful and tranquil heart produces life! Wow, what a promise. On the other hand, bitterness will rot the bones. Friends, God is not kidding about holding anger and grudges and it is high time we wake up and adhere to His word on this subject.
I read an article today at cbn.com, I want to share a part of it with you.
“Unforgiveness is classified in medical books as a disease. According to Dr. Steven Standiford, chief of surgery at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, refusing to forgive makes people sick and keeps them that way. With that in mind, forgiveness therapy is now being used to help treat diseases, such as cancer. “It’s important to treat emotional wounds or disorders because they really can hinder someone’s reactions to the treatments, even someone’s willingness to pursue treatment,” Standiford explained. Of all cancer patients, 61 percent have forgiveness issues, and of those, more than half are severe, according to research by Dr. Michael Barry, a pastor and the author of the book, The Forgiveness Project. “Harboring these negative emotions, this anger and hatred, creates a state of chronic anxiety,” he said. “Chronic anxiety very predictably produces excess adrenaline and cortisol, which deplete the production of natural killer cells, which is your body’s foot soldier in the fight against cancer,” he explained. “When a person forgives from the heart which is the standard we see in Matthew 18, forgiveness from the heart we find that they are able to find a sense of peacefulness. Quite often our patients refer to that as a feeling of lightness,” he said. Barry said most people don’t realize what a burden anger and hatred were until they let them go.”
Recently, God has amplified different people to me. He has literally magnified people who are angry at different things. People are angry about the presidential election. People are angry about the people who refuse to work and take advantage of the welfare system. People are angry at those who feel entitled while others work hard to make a living. People are angry at losing their jobs. People are angry at ministers who don’t struggle financially. People are angry at officials in our government. People are angry at different races. All you have to do is turn on the news or jump on Facebook and you will see that most people are angry about a lot of things. People are angry and that anger comes forth in the way they speak about these situations and the way they handle situations, and I will tell you this: GOD IS NOT PLEASED with that anger.
I wonder….if they fully realized that the anger they were harboring and many times, feeding, could open up the door for sickness and disease, if it would still be worth holding onto that grudge or that anger. I certainly hope not. I wonder if they realized the cost of that anger if they would continue to feed it. I pray not.
I have always known that stress and anxiety open the door to sickness and disease, now we are seeing that anger and bitterness do the same thing. Friends, don’t you think that information is enough to decide to ‘let it go’ once and for all?
God has good plans for us, he has plans for a good future – holding onto anger is not worth it. It is God’s plan that his ZOE life will flow through you and your family, therefore, don’t do things that will hinder that flow. The cost is too great. Let it go and let God have it. Then walk on in peace.
Remember, a heart that trusts God is evident by a mind that is at peace. When your mind is at peace, your body will be too. Trust God with old hurts and disappointments, give them to Him and walk away. It’s time to walk in the fullness of all God has for you. It’s time to close every door to the enemy and live in a continual flow of life, the Zoë life of God. AMEN!