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Anger The Way to Unhappiness

by Edith Lanning

Anger the Way to Unhappiness

The Bible says in Proverbs 27:4 regarding anger, "Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?" Anger is outrageous! The dictionary describes outrageous as extremely offensive, violently or grievously injurious, insulting, shameful and shocking. Anger, in other words, is a horrible thing.

Not only is anger and wrath cruel and outrageous, but it is foolish. In Proverbs 14:17 we read that He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated." It is foolish to think that anger will do any good in any situation. Ecclesiastes 7:9 also shows the foolishness of anger. "Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools."

We see anger as a horrible sin in the very beginning of the Bible, in the story of Cain and Abel; and the great sorrow that this horrible fit of anger brought to Adam and Eve and also to Cain. Oh, if Adam and Eve could have only realized the great sorrow that would be theirs because of their sin! Anger brings so much unhappiness to the angry one and also to others who are in contact with him. What sorrow and guilt must have been Cain's for the remainder of his life!

When Adam and Eve sinned, the Lord God made them coats of skin and clothed them with these coats. Genesis 3:21. They had made themselves aprons of fig leaves, which were the works of their own hands; but these were not good enough in God's sight, because all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags in His sight. Isaiah 64:6.

In order to obtain the skins of animals, it was necessary for the Lord God to slay the animals and in so doing, shed their blood. We are told in Leviticus 17:11 that "...the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul," saith the Lord. When Adam and Eve sinned by disobeying God, they died spiritually and their bodies began a process of gradual physical death. Therefore blood was required on the altar as an atonement for the soul, signifying that mankind needed other life than his own; the life of God, in order to live spiritually again. Jesus said, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." John 10:10. He wants to give us His life. This was the purpose of Jesus' coming to earth.

Paul experienced this new life for he said, "...the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20

Because Jesus had not yet come, God instituted in the Garden of Eden, the shedding of the blood of animals as a means of signifying man's desire for new life, the life of God, which would be made possible by God giving the life of His Son as the Saviour, for the sins of the world. The blood upon the altar revealed man's faith and desire for the life of God, which could break the estrangement with God and bring peace between God and man. When God slew the animals to make Adam and Eve coats of skin, this clothing signified their regret for their sin and unrighteous deed; that God had cleansed and given them His life; and clothed them with His righteousness.

We read in II Corinthians 5:21, "For He [God] hath made Him [Jesus], to be sin for us, [He] who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him [Jesus]." We need to receive Jesus as our Saviour that we might be made the righteousness of God, for we have no righteousness of our own. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost; which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ." Titus 3:5. Also in Isaiah 64:6 we read, "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we do all fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away."

Adam and Eve found peace with God and forgiveness of sin by the shed blood of animals, a looking forward to the Saviour, who would bruise Satan's head. Genesis 3:15. Even though, the shed blood of animals signified their desire and acceptance of the coming Saviour, yet their sinful nature was passed on to every person that is born into this world. So every person needs a personal experience with God in order to have forgiveness of sin and a personal relationship of friendship with God.

Oh, that Adam and Eve could have realized the sorrow that would be theirs because of their sin! There are the consequences of sin which are not swept away, even though that sin is forgiven. Circumstances caused by that sin still remain.

The first sons of Adam and Eve grew up to be young men and both felt that they wanted to worship God. In Genesis 4 we have the story of Cain bringing the fruit of the ground as an offering unto the Lord. Perhaps he brought wheat or corn, the work of his own hands, when God had shown that the offering should be a blood sacrifice. Many today tell us that if they do the best they can to live a good life, they believe they will make heaven. They like Cain are bringing their own works as an offering to God, instead of accepting the blood sacrifice of Jesus, by accepting Him into their hearts and life. Because Jesus has sacrificed His life by the shedding of His blood on Calvary, praise God, we no longer have to shed the blood of animals.

In Genesis 4:3-10, we have the first account of man's anger and see the horrible result. "In the process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: but unto Cain and to his offering He had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? and he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper? And the Lord said, What hast thou done? the voice of they brother's blood crieth unto Me from the ground."

In this passage, we see how one sin leads to another. First Cain became angry, which led to murder, and then he told a lie to try and cover up his sin. Anger and jealousy, if not quenched in the beginning, lead to other horrible sins.

We have seen the horrible result of Cain's sin of anger and jealousy, and the sorrow it brought to others, to Adam and Eve; because of the death of their son, as well as the sorrow of heart that must have been Cain's after his angry rage was over, as he realized he no longer had the companionship of his brother. His anger and jealousy brought him a lifetime of regret as well as causing him to be an unsettled wanderer trying to escape from the guilt of his evil deed.

Anger and hate so often go together as companion sins. John wrote in I John 3:15, "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him" However, if the murderer repents he can have eternal life, for we see this is possible in Revelation 9:21. "Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts." This shows that it was possible for them to repent of these sins and receive forgiveness; but because of the hardness of their heart, there was no repentance, nor sorrow for their horrible sins.

Jesus showed how horrible the sin of anger and hate is in God's sight, in Matthew 5:21-24. "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill: and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: but I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Racca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee: leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift." This shows that anger will bring one before the judgment just as much as one that has killed someone, therefore it is so important that we repent of the sin of anger and conquer it.

We are instructed in Ephesians 4:31,32, to "...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 help us to do this. To be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving when something happens which we do not like, is often only possible by trusting in the power of Jesus to rule our spirits. His power is in us if we have received Him as our Saviour.

The Bible shows us that anger is a horrible thing for in Proverbs 21:9, we read, "It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and and angry woman." This verse shows us that it is better to live a lonely life, all by one's self than to live with an angry person, whether it be a woman or a man. This fact is repeated in a little different way in Proverbs 25:24. "It is better to dwell in the corner of the house top, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house."

We are instructed in Proverbs 22:24 not to even make friends of such people. How much harder it is to live with them! "Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul." People who get angry and furious are a bad influence on others, and therefore should be shunned unless you are going to trust the Lord to use you to help them see that there is deliverance for them in Jesus, if they want it.

Having been very hot tempered myself, I realize the horrible unhappiness that a fit of anger can bring, especially to the one who is angry. Even as a very young person, I used to be so unhappy after a temper outburst that I did think of ending it all by taking my own life. I'm so glad the Lord prevented me from doing it, as that would have been the road to hell. But let us realize that is the very place that the devil wants us to go. Thank God for saving me from the gross sin of a horrible temper, which controlled me. I'm so glad that Jesus is now in control in my life.

To let anger remain or rest in one's heart will cause it to burn as a fire that is out of control. We are told in Ephesians 4:26, "Be angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: neither give place to the devil." To let anger remain in one's heart even until the next day, is giving place to the devil so that he can cause real bitterness and hate to develop. It is wise to get rid of anger quickly. If you get angry, quickly forgive and forget; however, it is much better not to get angry. This is possible in Jesus. Trust Him to keep you from the sin of anger.

As we read Proverbs 15:1, we find that we have two alternatives. Which will we choose? "A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger." Which do we want to be? a wrathful person? or one slow to anger? one to promote peace? or one to stir up trouble? It is better to give a soft answer than to return grievous words like the other one who is angry. Verse 18 says, "A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife." Which do we prefer to be? A wrathful person? or a peacemaker?

Which would the Lord have us to be? In Ephesians 2:14 we read of Jesus,"He is our peace." And in Colossians 3:15 we read, "Let the peace of God rule in your hearts." It is up to us what we allow in our hearts. God expects His children to be peacemakers. Matthew 5:9 says,"Blessed [or happy] are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."

A soft answer may be hard to give when another is angry, and saying unkind words; but Jesus can help us. We read in James 3:6, 8, that "the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell ... But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison." It is true that we can't tame our tongue; but praise God, Jesus can, if we are willing to let Him. He wants to tame our whole unruly nature, and will if we will let Him.

Romans 6:8 explains that "..if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him:" When we receive Jesus as our Saviour, we are to be dead to sin as Jesus was, because He dwells in us and makes us alive unto God by His mighty power. As Christians we are to die to ourselves and live with Him by letting Jesus live through us; and rule our lives. He doesn't do this by force, we must yield ourselves to Him and allow Him to live and work in us by His Spirit and by His Word, and as He does, He lives with us.

We are given further instructions as we read Romans 6:11-14, 16, "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as intruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace....Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?"

This plainly shows that we have the choice to make, whether we are going to yield our bodies to sin and the devil to live unhappy and unfruitful lives, or whether we are going to yield ourselves to God and His power to overcome sin, so that we may live happy fruitful lives. Let us yield ourselves to Jesus, so that we can live for Him, trusting Him to keep us from sin. Proverbs 16:20 says, "...Whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he." He will give us happiness, but anger will bring unhappiness to us and to others.

Some people think it is clever to tell someone off in an unkind way, or to outsay someone; but the Bible has shown us that it isn't clever, but foolish; because the outcome of anger is not pleasant to anyone, especially for the victim, and in order to avoid such unpleasantness, we should avoid the hot-tempered person.

As Christians, we are to mortify or die to sin. Colossians 3:5, "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth." We are to put off sin for we are more than conquerors through Him that loves us. Romans 8:37. As conquerors, we are to put off sin, or put to death sin by the power of Jesus that is in His children. Colossians 3:8-10 continues, "But now ye also put off [get rid of] all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him."

The new man that we are to put on, is the nature of Jesus. We put on this new nature of Jesus by believing the promises of God; for in II Peter 1:4 we read, "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." He has promised in His Word to make us conquerors and He will if we trust Him to do it. His power works in us as the Spirit of God makes His promises real to us and we believe them. If the promises of God are going to be alive to us, we must have a knowledge of them. We must read His Word and memorize the promises in order to believe and claim them. The Psalmist said, "Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee." Psalms 119:11. Let us believe the promises of His Word.

We have no power over sin except we use the power of Jesus, which is in those who have received Him as personal Saviour. II Corinthians 5:17 says, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." When we received Jesus, the old things of sin have passed away and behold all things have become new. We have a new life, a new power, a new nature, a new language (praise and thanksgiving instead of blues), new desires, new motives, new interests, new goals, new attitudes, etc., in our heart and life. With this newness of life which He has given us, we can triumph over sin and the devil by faith in Jesus.

Though the old man (old nature) is crucified with Jesus, or is dead, still the devil is constantly tempting us to let that old nature resurrect from the dead. Romans 6:6 says, "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." It is not God's will that we should serve sin, but that we should continue to reckon the old nature as dead or crucified with Christ. Let us trust Jesus for the victory continually. Let us not listen to the whispers of the devil that we should let the old nature resurrect. This is our constant warfare. Who are we going to listen to? and in whom are we going to trust?

If we are interested in putting off anger, wrath and malice, Jesus will give us the power to do so by His Spirit, that we may be more like Him to reflect His image, and attract others to Him. He wants to live out His life through and in us by His Spirit, but we must let Him by yielding our life to Him.

The Psalmist instructed us by the Spirit of God that we are to cease from anger. "Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil." Psalms 37:8. Jesus wants to rule in our lives in victory over anger, wrath and fretfulness.

Anger makes us defenseless against the enemy of our soul, as seen in Proverbs 25:28. "He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls." We need to trust Jesus to help us to rule or have control over our own spirit, our moods, our feelings, etc. for without this victory, we are like a defenseless city. In Bible times, the walls of a city were its defense. Let's not let our temper cause us to be defenseless against the devil, the enemy of our soul. Let's not let our feelings control us for we live by faith, not by feelings.

Again in Proverbs 16:32, we read, "He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city." This shows what a mighty conqueror we are if we can control our tempers through Jesus who has conquered all things. It is so commendable to be slow to anger and to be able to control our tempers. We can be just as victorious as he that taketh a city from the enemy, or as he that is mighty in battle.

God instructs us through Paul in Ephesians 6:10,11, "...walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness." To be patient and longsuffering through His strength and His might is pleasing unto the Lord, and without these characteristics we are not walking worthy of the Lord.

In Genesis 49:5-7, we read that anger brought a curse upon Simeon and Levi. It brings a curse upon many people, even causing them to kill someone as Simeon and Levi had done.

Anger is really selfishness, becoming provoked because we cannot have our own way. Isaiah 53:6 shows us that our sin is wanting to have our own way; and this is the old selfish nature for which Jesus died. "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him [Jesus] the iniquity of us all." Let us believe that our evil tempers are laid on Jesus, and are no longer our property. Let's disown them.

In Luke 15 we have the story of the lost son, returning home and his father welcoming him with a big celebration; but the elder brother was angry, verse 28, and jealous. Because the older brother was angry, he missed out on the good time the others were having. Anger causes us to miss out in many of the good things in life, so we are the loser.

The Christian life is a battle, a warfare, but not against people, but against the devil and the powers of darkness. In Ephesians 6:12, we read, "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." It goes on to tell how we need to take the whole armour of God, that we may be able to stand or be victorious, and be happy in Jesus. A happy life is victorious.

We read about our warfare in II Corinthians 10:3-5, "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." Though we still live in our bodies, we do not war, or fight, against the flesh, or people; but against the strong holds of the devil by the mighty power of God. By His power, we can get rid of evil imaginations, and pride, that will rear their ugly heads against that which God has shown us is right and good. We need to be obedient enough to Jesus, to even let our thoughts be captivated by Him.

If you have read this book and have never received Jesus as your Saviour, remember God loves you and does not want any to perish. John 3:16. Realize the truth of God's Word, when it says, "All have sinned." Romans 3:23. The Word of God also says, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." Acts 16:31. To believe is to receive. John 1:12 says, "As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name." We have no power to become the children of God, or live righteous lives as He requires, but He gives us that power as we simply believe His promises.

It is explained in I John 1:7, "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin." If you surrender your life to Jesus, you will be brought into fellowship with God, and the blood of Jesus will cleanse you. Romans 10:9,10 shows that if you will confess that Jesus is your Saviour and believe it, then you are saved. Live in Him.

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