Putting Away Anger

My husband and I will be married twelve years next month, and although we would never admit to “having it all together,” one thing that we have always fought to hold onto is our pursuit to work through our disagreements, however heated they may become, and never go to sleep angry with one another. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we try our best to be quick to forgive and ask for forgiveness. 

But since we are still on this side of eternity, we are continually being sanctified every day, and sometimes our flesh and pride gets in the way of that pursuit for peace and that was the case in a recent argument that he and I experienced. The two of us became so angry with one another that we continued to go in circles and rehash the argument. I found myself not thinking clearly and saying things that were hurtful towards my husband, things that I did not believe to be true. I would constantly interrupt my husband with what I wanted to say and never let him voice his concerns. In my frustration, I became so exhausted and confused that I didn’t have any energy to continue the conversation. Thankfully, before we drifted off to sleep, we both took some time to calm down and began to apologize for our anger and hurtful words. Knowing anger that is not restrained can often lead to sin, and in this case it did, we both repented to the Lord and to each other. We can find much instruction and wisdom in the Bible regarding the sin of unrestrained anger. James 1 has some beautiful instruction for us that is a wonderful reminder for our hearts, especially in marriage relationship:

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20, ESV).

Do you notice how our conversations with each other can be tied to the misuse of anger? This is especially true if we are not considering others before ourselves when we want to voice our opinion or concerns. The misuse of anger is called unrighteous anger because it is selfish and prideful in nature. Those who do not think of others when speaking are walking in pride, which can often lead to anger if met with resistance and tension. When anger is unrestrained and rooted in pride, we are not walking righteously before God. We are to be quick to listen before speaking and patient when engaging in a tense discussion. What wise advice for married couples! Anger is sure to occur when two people disagree, but we do not have to give into the temptation to allow that anger to fuel hurtful or hate-filled words towards the other person, sinning against them and more importantly, sinning against God who calls us to walk in righteousness. We need to prefer others above ourselves in our conversations with one another. May the Lord help us and sanctify us in our marriages and relationships with others.

Father, Your Word has so much to say on the sin of anger, yet we give into this temptation all the time when we are challenged in our selfishness. I repent for sinning against those who have been made in Your image when I did not prefer them above myself and allowed my words to cause pain. This is especially true in my marriage. I have allowed my pride to lead me into unrestrained anger by lashing out and interrupting in my disagreements. Help me to follow Your wisdom of being slow to speak and quick to listen so that anger does not cause me to walk in unrighteous behavior towards my husband and brothers and sisters in Christ. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for Your grace to empower me to walk more Christ-like. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

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Beauty in Its Time

I have lived in the Midwest of the United States my entire life. We experience all four seasons, but it usually goes something like this: 5-6 months of Winter, 2-3 weeks of Spring, 4-5 months of Summer, and 2-4 weeks of Fall. By the time the extreme months of Winter and Summer are over, we get to enjoy the mild temperatures for less than a month most years. 

I have to admit, Winter is my least favorite season and out of all the seasons, and in the Midwest, it is the longest. I wait for Spring to come with great expectation, but come January, I am usually growing extremely impatient and ready to pack my bags and move our family to somewhere much warmer!

But, just like the year before, the temperature begins to slowly climb, buds begin to form on the trees, and the grass and plants begin to come back to life and show those vibrant green colors. Soon enough, fresh leaves are fully covering what were barren branches and flowers are in full bloom, welcoming us into Spring once again. I never have to worry if the seasons are going to change because they always do; God is a master artist like that and has it all under control. 

Just like seasons are set to a specific time that God ordains, so are events in our life, and on an even bigger scale, our journey with Him as it unfolds. Only He knows how to take a rebellious heart of stone and transform it into a heart of flesh that praises His Holy name. This profound reality of God forming a life into one who learns how to deny self and worship the Lord is not an overnight event. No, just like seasons change in their own time, the change of a life for the glory of Christ is a process. In God’s perfecting timing, we will begin to see the transformation. 

Ecclesiastes is a book in the Bible written by one of the wisest men to live, King Solomon. In this book, Solomon discusses the ebb and flow of life: time, foolishness, suffering, and wisdom are some of the topics that are poetically unwrapped throughout this Old Testament book. 

Chapter 3 of Ecclesiastes focuses on the concept of time in the heart of man. Verse 11 explains to us that God is the holder of time and specifically that “He has made everything beautiful in its time” (11a). The verse goes on to say that God “has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end” (Ecclesiastes 11b, NIV). 

Often times, as humans, we become extremely discouraged when we fail or when we think we should be further along than we are, but God is continually working in our hearts and in our lives, and the process of conforming us to the image of His dear Son rests solely in His hands as we lean not on our own understanding, but trust completely in Him and His ways (Proverbs 3:5-6).

With the help of the Holy Spirit, we learn to walk in obedience. He leads us into all truth as we study the Word and renew our mind to replace old ways of thinking with God’s perfect will. 

Perhaps this process of renewing our mind and seeing transformation in behavior and attitude is slowed down because our eyes become too fixated on cares of this life and the temporal.

Our hearts were made to look to the hope in eternity, but if we are not careful, we can be consumed with worry when things are not changing as quickly as we would like them to or when our circumstances in our life are challenging or uncomfortable.

Soon we are trying to control things that go on in our life and forget to ask the Lord for His help or even acknowledge that He may be using all that may be difficult in our life to work for our good and turn it all into something beautiful. 

Do you feel like you are stuck in a “winter” season in your life and are longing to see blooms of new life?

Take those concerns to the Lord today in prayer. Write down the worries that are weighing you down and surrender them to God.

dOnly He is able to make things beautiful in its time. Don’t lose hope…Springtime is just around the corner!

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