My son, do not reject the discipline of the LORD, and do not loathe His rebuke; for the LORD disciplines those He loves, as a father the son in whom he delights. Proverbs 3:12
Let’s be real. No one likes to be corrected, including me. It’s not fun. Sometimes it’s even painful.
But I would rather be corrected by someone who loves me & is trying to save me from a world of hurt, than live out the consequences of my rash or stupid decisions.
For the purpose of illustration, I’m going to use an exaggerated example of what I’m talking about. Let’s say person A has a quick temper and is prone to violent outbursts. Person A’s friends & family have warned them that they need to deal with their anger and learn to manage it in a more constructive way. Person A ignores their advice, thinking within themselves that their anger is justified and everyone else is just blind to the facts. As time goes by, person A continues to nurse his/her anger, feeding it a steady stream of dark memories as they replay in their mind every slight and insult hurled against them.
One day, person A is in an argument with a complete stranger. This stranger had the nerve to take the space Person A was waiting for in a parking lot. This will be person B. Person B’s problem is that they are inconsiderate and rude. Family & friends have told person B this many times, to the point that person B does not have many friends left. When the unfortunate B leaves their car, person A starts yelling insults. Person B tells the person to deal with it and continues to walk to the store. Person A snaps, and beats person B so badly, that B dies when his head hits the concrete. Now, multiple people’s lives are affected because A & B refused to deal with their personal issues and sins.
The Lord has given us His word on everything we will ever deal with or face. In addition to the scriptures, He has given us the Holy Spirit to live in us, if we have been born again. The Holy Spirit is our Teacher, our Helper…the indwelling presence & power of God. (Read John chapters 14 – chapter 17 for the descriptions & characteristics Jesus made about the Holy Spirit)
Using our person A example, let’s look at what the scriptures have to say about anger:
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.
Proverbs 29:11 Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end.
Ecclesiastes 7:9 Don’t let your spirit rush to be angry, for anger abides in the heart of fools.
Proverbs 22:24 Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered,
And one more (but there are many more in the Word that deal with anger)
“In your anger do not sin” : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
If person A had been a believer, the scenario might have developed along these lines: Person A is confronted about their anger by their spouse or other loved ones. They feel defensive & hurt about the words just spoken to them, but instead of lashing out, Person A seeks time alone with God. Let’s even say Person A realizes that they in fact do have problems with feelings of rage, and prays to the Lord: “Father, I have a BIG problem. I just get so angry! I’m mad all the time and little things set me off. I don’t know why I’m like this and I can’t seem to control it. Please, I’m asking for forgiveness for the people I’ve hurt and frightened. I desperately need your help to overcome this. Please have mercy on me. I’m asking this in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Here is an example of someone who acknowledges that they have a problem. They don’t try to minimize it, justify it or ignore it. Person A now sees that his/her actions are not pleasing to God and do not reflect the image of Christ, whom they are supposed to represent. They are humbly sorry for their actions and thoughts and are seeking forgiveness, which God, in His mercy, freely gives:
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” ~ 1 John 1:9
Now Person A has the power of God activated on their behalf. They resist feelings of condemnation & shame because God does not condemn believers. Person A has confessed their sin and God has forgiven them. Not because they necessarily feel forgiven, but because they accept by faith what the truth of God says (1 John 1:9). Whenever feelings of anger or rage start to bubble up, Person A immediately cries out to God for help, and God gives them the strength to keep their mouth shut…or walk away…or to respond in a controlled manner. None of this means that person A won’t struggle against anger for awhile. It does mean that they are learning how to walk through this time of change by leaning on God and relying on His help. A very powerful prayer for anyone dealing with a sin is simply to ask, “Father, lead me AWAY FROM TEMPTATION”.
To wrap this post up, I’m leaving you with an encouraging word from Hebrews 12. It’s encouraging because if God is dealing with you about something, it means you belong to Him, and that’s a GOOD thing:
5 and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons,
“MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD,
NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM;
6 FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES,
AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.”
7 It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. ~ Hebrews 12:5-11