I wanted to take a moment to wrap up the conversation we started this week on dealing with and getting rid of anger. We all know that anger left unresolved is dangerous and unproductive. We also know that while it is not easy to get rid of anger, it is possible. To get rid of anger and it’s harmful impact, there are some things that we need to remember and remind ourselves of on a regular basis!
We Must Forgive Others! This is for their benefit and ours! We tend to be a selfish, angry, bitter and unforgiving people, especially if someone has done us wrong or hurt us! This mixture of bad attitudes does not honor God and what He has done and wants to do in our lives!
My wife – Joy can do 100 right things, but I tend to only notice and focus on the one thing she does wrong! Why is that? Because, I expect her to do what is right! The problem is my selfish nature! My selfish nature will cause me to forget the 100 right things and focus on the one wrong thing, while allowing anger and bitterness to take control of my life! And the real problem here is that – this attitude robs me of what God forgives me for – life not in the flesh, but in the spirit! Jeremiah 17 says: “Man is cursed when he takes his trust from the Lord and puts it in the flesh!”
Forgiveness Sets Us Free! Only when you get unbound from the one you can enjoy the one hundred! Forgiveness is not optional for the child of God! It is a command! Jesus says: “The measure we use will be used on us!” To forgive is to release the debt! When I forgive I surrender/give up/let go of the debt to God! Jesus is our perfect example! In I Peter 2:23-24 it says: “23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” This is why Jesus was able to pray: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do!”
We want to hand others over to God for judgment and punishment, but God desires to show them the same mercy, grace, forgiveness and love that he shows you and me! Matthew 5:44-45 says “44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
So How Many Times Do I Have To Forgive? Are you really ready for the answer to this question? A wise person once said: “Only if I am keeping a tab, can I keep count!” If I’m keeping a tab, then I am not really forgiving and wiping the slate clean! Ouch – gets you doesn’t it?
So our only other option is to pull out “OUR BIG EXCUSE!” We love to say: “I would forgive them, but they have not ask for my forgiveness!” But then we remember – God forgave us way before we ever thought to ask for it, otherwise we would have been wiped out a long time ago!
Another way of thinking about it is like this: Have you remembered to ask God to forgive you for everything? At some point in time, we are going to fail to ask God to forgive us of something, because we are imperfect, but God gives His forgiveness anyway and we have to decide if we will receive it and what we will do with it!
There are three steps to breaking the addiction of anger! 1.) Receive God’s Forgiveness! 2.) Give Forgiveness To Others! (This sets you free!) 3.) Allow others their time to receive it! When they receive it! (It sets them free!) And the beautiful thing: FREEDOM BRINGS GLORY TO GOD!