Has anyone ever made you sooooo angry that you just wanted to give them a darn good slap (or two) upside the head? I remember one time when I was sooooo angry with my ex (he just didn’t seem to know when to back off) that I actually chased him out the front door while waving the kids Fisher Price vacuum cleaner at his head! Maybe that sounds funny to you (it does to me now) but the anger I felt wasn’t funny.

Maybe you are one of those “perfect” Christians who never gets angry?

1Jn 1:8  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

Well, although I would like to be perfect, the truth is that I am not. Like the apostle Paul said about himself:

Rom 7:18  For I am conscious that in me, that is, in my flesh, there is nothing good: I have the mind but not the power to do what is right.
Rom 7:19  For the good which I have a mind to do, I do not: but the evil which I have no mind to do, that I do. (BBE)

Yup, that’s me all over – doing bad things that I don’t want to do.

Recently, someone has taken an action (and not for the first time) which has caused my husband and I great frustration, anxiety, grief – and yes, a whole lot of anger.

I am an emotional person who thinks with my heart. I am also passive/aggressive, meaning I get angry but rather than deal with something right away, I internalize the hurt and the anger and like a cow regurgitating it’s cud, I regurgitate the event over and over, and all the things I wished I had said and or done. This latest event had me fantasizing about some serious shaking and rattling of teeth (not mine).

This is not a Godly way to deal with anger. And by the way, there are times when it is okay to feel anger, what I would term as “righteous” anger. Jesus certainly displayed righteous anger when he over-turned the sellers’ tables in the temple. (I think that I will deal with the issue of anger in another blog).

Eph 4:26  Be angry, and do not sin. Do not let the sun go down upon your wrath,
Eph 4:27  neither give place to the Devil

We see that God knows that there are times when we will be angry, but we are not to act sinfully in that anger. And we are certainly advised not to sit and stew – or “chew the cud” in that anger. (Note to self – Passive-agressives pay attention please). By allowing anger to simmer and then boil, we are giving the devil opportunity to work more grief in our lives.

One day, as I was emailing my frustrations over the latest situation(ok – I was whinging) to my Mom, I heard “that still small voice saying, “pray for those who despitefully use you”. So I paused and thought “like, what!!??” and the voice said, “like, ya!!” Hmmm – I think I am the one who got the “slap upside the head”, spiritually speaking!

I don’t know about you, but one of the hardest requirements for me as a Christian, is the command to forgive. (And it is a commandment, not a suggestion):

Mat 5:44  But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you,
Mat 5:45  so that you may become sons of your Father in Heaven.

Mat 5:39  But I say to you, Do not resist evil. But whoever shall strike you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.
Mat 5:40  And to him desiring to sue you, and to take away your tunic, let him have your coat also.

This is Jesus speaking to us and notice how he does not say “may I suggest that you…” or “you might consider…”. No, rather, Jesus, directed of God, is telling us what we “must” do, not what we “might” want to do.

Eph 4:31  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and tumult and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.
Eph 4:32  And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.

You may say, “but you don’t know how many times so and so and such and such has hurt me! I can’t keep forgiving!”. Well, God tells us that we must forgive.

Mat 18:21  Then Peter came to Him and said, Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Until seven times?
Mat 18:22  Jesus said to him, I do not say to you, Until seven times; but, Until seventy times seven.

If God tells us that we must forgive, He must also give us the ability to do so. Remember:

1Jn 4:4  You are of God, little children, and you have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

When we forgive those who have wronged us, we are not excusing their behaviour and actions, but we are forgiving them the ignorance in which they are operating, as many of them are blinded by Satan.

Luk 23:34  And Jesus said, Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.

Surely, if Jesus could, and did, forgive his accusers, tormentors, torturers, and crucifiers, we, as his followers, should follow his example!

2Co 2:10  But to whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if I forgave anything, for your sakes I forgave it to him in the person of Christ;
2Co 2:11  so that we should not be overreached by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his devices.

There are serious consequences for holding on to unforgiveness:

Mat 18:34  And his lord was angry, and delivered him to the tormentors until he should pay all that was due to him.
Mat 18:35  So likewise shall My heavenly Father do also to you, unless each one of you from your hearts forgive his brother their trespasses.

Mar 11:26  But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in Heaven forgive your trespasses.

Unforgiveness can seriously interfere with your prayer life:

Mar 11:24  Therefore I say to you, All things, whatever you ask, praying, believe that you shall receive them, and it will be to you.
Mar 11:25  And when you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive it so that also your Father in Heaven may forgive you your trespasses.

Holding on to unforgiveness causes bitterness which negatively affects our spiritual, mental, emotional and physical health.

Lam 3:15  He has filled me with bitterness and made me drunk with wormwood.

The word “wormwood” means “accursed” and “poisonous”. Not something I want to experience! Mental illness is on the increase and a great deal of the  suffering is because people have been unable to let go of the past; unable to forgive those who have hurt them. We miss a lot of the good stuff that God has for us to enjoy because we are too busy gnawing on that old, dried, smelly,dirty, splintered bone of unforgiveness!

We can begin the healing process by asking God to forgive us our unforgiveness, “forgive us our trespasses”…

1Jn 1:9  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

And ask God to help us to forgive those who have hurt us: “and help us to forgive those who have trespassed against us”

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” AMEN!

Writing this post has been a very good lesson for me; now I need to go and practice what I preach!

1Jn 4:7  Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God, and everyone who loves has been born of God, and knows God.

Mat 5:5  Blessed are the meek! For they shall inherit the earth.
Mat 5:7  Blessed are the merciful! For they shall obtain mercy.
Mat 5:8  Blessed are the pure in heart! For they shall see God.
Mat 5:9  Blessed are the peacemakers! For they shall be called the sons of God


The Real Thing

On Saturday, I spent a lovely day with four “sistas” in Christ at the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival. On the drive down, our fearless leader, Liisa, (a gal with incredible gifts for organization and hospitality) read us a devotional she had found that actually used the topic of maple syrup as it’s basis.

The devotional compared the taste and qualities of real maple syrup to that of the artificial “other stuff”. Then it went on to discuss the difference between a “real” and an “artificial” Christian.

I have eaten both the real and the fake maple syrups and have met both real and phoney Christians. I can tell you that I much prefer the “real thing” in both cases.

There are products which advertize themselves as having a “real maple syrup flavour”. On the surface, they may look, smell and taste like real maple syrup. However,when you take the time to read the label, you will find words like “simulated” and “artificial” along with a long list of unpronounceable names of chemicals that have no nutritional value whatsoever, and which may, in fact, be hazardous to your physical health.

The same can be said about people; they may look and sound like Christians, but if you were to scratch the surface a little deeper, you may find that they are, unfortunately,  “Christians” in name only, lacking any spiritual value, and who may, in fact, be detrimental to your spiritual health.

Since people don’t come with labels that you can read, how can you tell if a person is a “real” or an “imitation” Christian? Well,  real Christians won’t just “talk the talk” , you know the type – they spout scripture left, right and centre and tell you that they know the Bible frontwards and backwards but don’t practice what they preach.

Mat 23:27  Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which indeed appear beautiful outside, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.

Real Christians won’t just “walk the walk” – they don’t put on a “holier than thou” attitude just because they follow a set of rules and regulations.

Luk 18:11  The Pharisee, taking up his position, said to himself these words: God, I give you praise because I am not like other men, who take more than their right, who are evil-doers, who are untrue to their wives, or even like this tax-farmer. vs. 12  Twice in the week I go without food; I give a tenth of all I have.

A real Christian “talks the walk AND walks the talk”. Their words line up with their actions and vice versa. A real Christian doesn’t just speak the words they profess to believe in, they actively live out those words because “faith without works is dead”.  And the words that a real Christian needs to live out can be summed up in this scripture: Luk 10:27  … You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.

1Jn 3:10  In this way it is clear who are the children of God and who are the children of the Evil One; anyone who does not do righteousness or who has no love for his brother, is not a child of God.

Dear God, help me to be “the real thing”.