Hurts in our lives are real and harmful. I am amazed everyday, how hurts, left unattended, can grow into bitterness. And bitterness like a poison, spills over into anger. Today we look at that third step – the fruit of bitterness:
Anger – step three to a full-blown rebellious heart
Anger is the fruit that comes forth from the poisonous root of bitterness.
People hurt one another. When hurts are not taken care of properly, the poisonous root of bitterness starts attaching to our hearts and then the fruit of that bitterness comes forth in the form of anger. It can be seen in behaviors such as temper tantrums; quarreling with one another; fighting with our spouses, children, and others; animosity towards others; cruelty; and vengeance.
What makes you angry?
- Does your husband make you angry because he doesn’t pick up his dirty clothes when the hamper is just a few steps away?
- Does your wife make you angry when she doesn’t have a meal on the table when you come home to eat?
- Do your children make you angry when they are disobedient?
- Do you get angry when a friend is inattentive?
- Do you get angry when you lose control over others?
- Do you get angry when you are standing in line at a store?
- Do you get angry when you feel that traffic is holding you up from getting to where you need to go?
We all get angry at times – we explode but we move on. It becomes dangerous when the poison is allowed to run so deeply through our veins that we are just angry – angry about everything.
One of the primary roots of anger stems from the family. Angry people come from angry families because they learn from their role models and continue carrying the same destructive behavior in their own lives and then pass it on to their children.
One issue that always is on my heart is found in Ephesians 6:4 – “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (ESV)
How many children have been hurt by fathers not heeding these words? The word for anger comes from the Greek word parorgizo (par-org-id’-zo); to anger alongside, i.e. enrage: KJV – anger, provoke to wrath.
This type of anger instilled into a heart of a child is a time-bomb just waiting to explode. By the time a child is an adult, the only way they know how to handle daily conflicts is to become angry – it is a protection mode to ensure that others don’t hurt them.
Angry Words come from deep within the well of our souls – spewing forth from our mouths and it is hard to take back those words once they have left. So many times we are angry and we start spewing out words – we don’t even remember what we said or how we said it. We just don’t care.
Fortunately God cares about what makes you angry. He also cares about how you handle that spewing of anger.
Angry words hinder our loving relationships that we all strive to have – our marriages; our children; our friends; our fellow believers in Jesus Christ. That is why Jesus said: A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35 – (ESV)
Our tool box from God comes equipped with the fruit of the Spirit – which includes love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
Self-Control will help us learn how to stop and think before the words even leave our mouths.
There is always a cost to our behavior – just like the story I share below:
High Cost of Anger
Anger weakens a man. It puts him at a disadvantage in every undertaking in life. When Sinbad and his sailors landed on one of their tropical islands, they saw high up in the trees, coconuts which could quench their thirst and satisfy their hunger. The coconuts were far above the reach of Sinbad and the sailors, but in the branches of the trees were the chattering apes. Sinbad and his men began to throw stones and sticks up at the apes. This enraged the monkeys and they began to seize the coconuts and hurl them down at the men on the ground. That was just what Sinbad and his men wanted. They got the apes angry so that the apes would gather their food for them.
That is a good illustration of how by indulgence in anger we play into the hands of our foes.
—C. E. Macartney
What we have learned so far in this series on steps to a full-blown rebellious heart:
- We hurt one another. If we don’t find ways to deal with these hurts in a godly manner, the hurt will hang on and twist around our hearts.
- Then a root of bitterness will start to attach to us full of poison – that will destroy us and everyone else around us.
- The poisonous root of bitterness nurtured, will eventually be expressed through the fruit of angry behavior.
Good News – Jesus has given us a way of escape from such destructive behaviors. There is much wisdom in that Good News. Below I am sharing a few Scriptures with you about anger – what God has to say about it.
- Ecclesiastes 7:9 – Control your temper, for anger labels you a fool. (NLT)
- Ephesians 4:26-27 – And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil. (NLT)
- Proverbs 29:11 – A fool give full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back. (ESV)
- Proverbs 29:22 – A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression. (ESV)
- Proverbs 22:24-25 – Don’t befriend angry people or associate with hot-tempered people, or you will learn to be like them and endanger your soul. (NLT)
When we hang on to anger we are just being foolish. We must turn the anger and the people who caused it over to God and let him take care of it. Stop holding on to the hurts, bitterness and anger in your life and start “Letting it Go!”
Heavenly Father, I thank you for your words of wisdom that you have so graciously given me over the years. Lord, I thank you for the freedom that I have in Jesus Christ to live a life full of love – detached from hurts, bitterness, and anger. I thank you that you have given us a way of escape from such a dark place. Father God, I pray that you will help me to continue to write words of encouragement to others that will help them find the good way – the way to freedom and rest in Jesus Christ. I ask this in Jesus Christ’s name, amen.