Dealing with Anger & Bitterness Biblically
James 1:19-20 – “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”
We need to learn to control our anger and not let it control us. Don’t hold on to your anger and let it turn into bitterness. A Christian is to be slow to anger and quick to get rid of it (James 1:19-20). Jesus gives us four ways to help us resolve our anger in Luke 6:27 -28 – “But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.”
“Love your enemies” – how many of us could honestly say we love our enemies? The Lord Jesus tells us to in these verses. Following this command of our Lord can be a challenging thing sometimes, but it is the right thing to do and the thing that will help us not to harbor anger and let it turn into bitterness.
“Do good to them which hate you” – again also another commandment from our Lord which could be challenging to implement. Our old sin nature just wants to get even with those we are angry at but Jesus tells us to “do good to them”. (Romans 12:20 – Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.)
“Bless them which curse you” – we are to bless them which curse us. Is that a natural reaction to bless someone who curses you? – No it is not. We have to suppress our old sin nature to do this. We have to exercise self control. The Lord Jesus is an awesome example of this. He was falsely arrested, falsely tried, falsely convicted and falsely sentenced. He could have called down 12 legion of angels and wiped out all them that did this but instead He blessed them by dying on the cross for the very sins they were committing and giving them the opportunity to go Heaven with Him. (Mathew 26:53 – Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?)
“Pray for them which despitefully use you” – Have you ever been used by someone? Or at least felt like you were used? Did you pray for that person afterwards? We are told by Christ we are supposed to.
Forgiveness is how we get rid of the anger. Forgiveness is to occur every time an offense happens. (Luke 17:3-4 – Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.) As a Christian you must forgive because you have been forgiven. (Ephesians 4:31-32 – Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.)God will forgive Christians as we forgive others. (Mathew 6:14-15 – For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.)