What does disappointment coupled with the hurt of broken trust a/k/a “betrayal” look like? Well from what I witnessed recently, and have endured in my own life, the answer is…Anger. Sometimes if not properly dealt with anger has a nasty habit of turning into something much, much worse…rage. And rage is something that is about as unproductive and destructive as it gets.
Now don’t get me wrong there is such a thing as a righteous anger, such as those felt due to injustices stemming from the abuse or mistreatment of others. Heaven knows we probably need MORE righteously angry Christians prompted into useful and Godly action. Just a few weeks ago we saw as a reminder of this type of useful action with the celebration of Martin Luther King day. A day where we as a nation celebrated and remembered not only the man but also the many that stood with him who were also outraged by the injustices inflicted upon others.
But we and they still had the “choice” of deciding how and what to DO with that anger, and how to ultimately REACT. When we choose the wrong door it can quickly lead down a path that turns anger into what God calls sin.
What are some of the things that scripture records on God’s view of anger turned rage…
Simeon and Levi are brothers—
their swords are weapons of violence.
Let me not enter their council,
let me not join their assembly,
for they have killed men in their anger
and hamstrung oxen as they pleased.
Cursed be their anger, so fierce,
and their fury, so cruel!
I will scatter them in Jacob
and disperse them in Israel. – Gen 49:5-7 NIV
And another that still rages on til this day…
And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father blessed him; and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are very near. When [he is gone] I will [a]kill my brother Jacob. – Gen 27:41 – AMP
Here is a footnote commentary from the BibleGateway Online Bible:
“Here began a feud that was to cost countless lives throughout succeeding centuries. Esau’s descendants, the Amalekites, were the first enemies to obstruct the flight of Jacob’s descendants from Egypt (Exod. 17:8); and the Edomites even refused to let their uncle Jacob’s children pass through their land (Num. 20:17-20). Doeg, an Edomite, all but caused the death of Christ’s chosen ancestor David (I Sam. 21, 22). Bloody battles were fought between the two nations in the centuries that followed. It was Herod, of Esau’s race (Josephus,Antiquities of the Jews 14:1, Section 3), who had the male infants of Bethlehem slain in an effort to destroy the Christ Child (Matt. 2:16). Satan needs no better medium for his evil plans than a family feud, a “mere quarrel” between two brothers.”
The above examples are extreme cases but really rage is rage and can easily turn into sin if left unchecked. As it states Esau “brooded“, that indicates he didn’t “let it go and give it to the Lord” but instead CHOSE to let his fury and anger with his brother fester, turning ultimately into a murderous rage. Not to say that he had no right to be upset or even angry with his brother but it was that he let his anger get the best of him. Ultimately he over time forgave his brother but how much time was lost in the process?
I truly believe that is why God inspirited Paul to write;
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. – Rom 12:19 – NIV
I think the only beings able to properly handle anger are our God and Lord. So with that we should be mindful to take very serious pause when we feel ourselves headed that way. But I’m not going to downplay that feelings are strong, especially when we find ourselves hurt by someone, even more so by those closest to us. I know very well from my own experiences…
But thankfully through my prayers, and closeness with God, I am reminded that when those feelings arise, and they definitely do, that instead of “brooding” I take to His word and draw close to Him to bring peace and restoration to my soul. I still have my weak moments (e.g. driving on the freeway 😉 )
I’m praying for those I recently witnessed who are still reeling from the pain of the events that have transpired. I’m also praying for myself that lest I be lax I will quickly find myself making the same choices that many of them are making right now.
We all have our weakness. I’m praying we all chose on purposes to REACT to those situations by drawing not in and unto ourselves but instead decide to draw nearer and closer to our Father…our ultimate Righteous God.
Be Forever Blessed,