I am absolutely not qualified to write this…especially on this week’s topic. Anger has been a huge sin struggle for me…especially as of late. As I was praying to the Lord about this and asking Him why or how I could write this…he reminded me that He is glorified in our weaknesses and so I have to trust Him that He will somehow use my broken heart and words to glorify Himself.
Before becoming a wife and mother, if you had asked me if I had a problem with anger I would have probably said, “No.” However, looking back the signs and symptoms were all there…the self-pity, self-righteousness, critical spirit. Sadly, I didn’t even see a lot of these symptoms. The sin of pride is especially blinding and I didn’t want to acknowledge that I was a big fat ANGRY sinner. Ha! I had those sin struggles all masked behind the good church-girl facade of someone who went to church every Sunday, tithed, and volunteered in church regularly.
Then the Lord allowed me to marry this wonderful man who was very different than me and immediately my flesh reared it’s ugly head when he approached and thought about situations differently than I did (gasp!). Frustration and miscommunications often ensued and led to anger and resentment that I frequently allowed to build up in my heart.
Then came the tail-spinner…children. Wanna take your fear, idol of self and control for a ride…just procreate. These little human beings are dependent on you…(bigger GASP)…and they need you ALL THE TIME. At 3am…4pm….at 6:30am when you can barely get your own eyes open. I am convinced that nothing will expose our anger quicker than the tireless work of caring for the needs of others.
So, here I sit ten years into marriage and eight years into being a parent and I sorrowfully realize I have failed at constantly guarding my heart against anger. The devil is so devious and sneaky. He wants us to look at our circumstances and justify our sin, but Jesus is crying out saying, “I have allowed these circumstances out of my love for you, Angie, to show you where your heart is still broken and sin-infested so that I can come and do a new work in your heart…to bring beauty where there is now ashes of a critical spirit… freedom from your fears…and complete devastation of your idols of self and control.” It’s as if he is whispering to my heart the powerful promises of Isaiah 61:1-3:
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed me
To bring good news to the afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to captives
And freedom to prisoners;
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
To grant those who mourn in Zion,
Giving them a garland instead of ashes,
The oil of gladness instead of mourning,
The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.
So they will be called oaks of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
So, if the Lord is revealing to you some unknown sin struggles with anger. I plead with you…DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED! Cry out to your Mighty Savior, Jesus. Stop justifying your sin against your friends, coworkers, spouse, or family. Ask Him to heal you, to show you how to guard your heart more vigilantly.
And I am pleading with you and myself…don’t try to just manage your anger! The Bible is very clear about how we are to deal with our sin; we are to put it to death, not just manage it or modify our behavior. Those methods might work for awhile but as soon as the circumstances become challenging again…so will our sin. Our hearts must be transformed if we are to truly overcome these deeply rooted sins. Yes, the transformation will take practical steps of “working out our faith with fear and trembling” but they must be lead by the Spirit and not a cleverly devised plan to “fix” ourselves.
May we all learn how to guard our hearts with vigilance and overcome this struggle of anger that is often the symptom of deeper heart struggles and sin. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” For me, I feel the Spirit leading me to spend 10-15 minutes journaling before bed, asking the Lord to search my heart and laying before Him any frustrations or bitterness that might be trying to take root. How will the Holy Spirit lead you? Ask Him and don’t be afraid to listen. The reward to your witness, relationships, and legacy will be powerful and lasting.