Anger and Forgiveness

Each of us carries around more anger and frustration in our lives than we even know. When I start thinking about all the things that upset me, I get overwhelmed. Let's face it, we all have our reasons for feeling justified in our anger. Lately I've been trying to remember that everyone I see is carrying a burden of pain, hurt, and regret that is unique to their own life and experience. Our personal ghosts may come in many forms, but we all have them.

This has been a theme in my life recently. I see anger in myself and in the lives of many others around me. We're angry at God for the way he's made us. We're angry with our life circumstances and we're tired of dealing with it. We're angry with our brothers and sisters for mistreating us, for ignoring our hurts.

Perhaps someone truly has wronged you. Perhaps your circumstances truly aren't what the world would call "ideal." Maybe you truly are justified in your anger... or are you?

We must turn to Jesus in answer of this question. He was scorned by man, by us, more than we can probably imagine. Betrayed, beaten, abandoned by those who claimed to love him. He knew we would do it. He even warned us we would do it. Yet... he still shed his blood on our behalf. He still called us "Brothers." God made a covenant with us, that we would be his sons. We would act against it again and again, many times without even realizing it, but God would keep it despite our unfaithfulness.

It wasn't because we deserved it. It wasn't even because of our repentance or our commitment to preach the Gospel, or keep his word. He chose to set his affections on us because of who he is, not because we were really great people.

Maybe you've also entered into a covenant with a spouse, or a church. At one time, they claimed to love you, and they may be the ones who have hurt you most.

We must choose to forgive others because of who he is. They may never ask for it. They may always feel that they were perfectly right in their actions or hurtful words. But if we are generous with anything we've been given by God, it must be forgiveness. Pray diligently for their repentance, and strive to be reconciled with them, but do not let forgiveness depend on their actions. You cannot control that and it will only cause your heart to be burdened longer. Do not deny the peace of Christ by harboring anger in your heart.
"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive." Colossians 3:12-13
Keep the cross before you. Know that Christ's work was finished, that your sins were forgiven, that you received grace and mercy, that your ability to forgive rested on the shoulders of the man hanging on the tree. It remains there, still.

Christian, the Holy Spirit has equipped you with the ability to forgive. You cannot do it by your own strength. You must have faith that God can change your heart. Even if your anger is pointed directly at him, you must trust that he will replace it with joy.
"You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
you have loosed my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness,
that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!"
Psalm 30:11-12


Brad said...

And get this! When a sin debt occurs, because of who God is,justice has to be served. So if the person who sins doesn't incur the debt the person who forgives must. Showing grace to those who have incurred a sin debt to us requires us to pay the penalty for their sin. So we accept the pain of how they have wronged us. That is how "love covers a multitude of sin." It doesn't mean pain is gone it means we took the pain upon ourselves therefore identifying with Chirst. Great Post.

Nikki said...

Thank you for a wonderful post. And also for posting the scripture. I wish every person in America woud read this post. Forgiveness is such a powerful thing and can do wonders in your life if you let it. Thank you!