Give No Place

“And do not give the devil an opportunity [to lead you into sin by holding a grudge, or nurturing anger, or harboring resentment, or cultivating bitterness]” (Ephesians 4:27).

We know that the devil is the accuser of the brethren and Paul spoke in his letter to the Ephesians about the dangers of anger which leads to sin. The letter says, ‘be angry but do not sin.’ In other words the emotion of anger itself is not sinful but if we act upon the feelings of anger, then we have acted sinfully. Some of the behaviours that result from anger are retaliation against others, filthy communication and taking vengeance. “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord”” (Romans 12:19).

I know that it is not easy to take insults and ill-treatment from others without the desire to retaliate. We have to remember that we do not war in the flesh and the weapons of our warfare are not carnal (2 Corinthians 10:4). “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). As hard as it is, we have to keep this in mind when people are coming against us. We take the fight out of the flesh and take it into the realms of the spirit. The devil will try to keep us in the flesh because he will wear us out and beat us every time.

We do not have the physical strength to win earthly battles and the days when the people of God waged physical wars are in the Old Testament. Even then, the men of God relied on heavenly intelligence and strategies to give them an advantage over the enemy. If we struggle with anger and it remains unresolved then it leads to bitterness. Bitterness and resentment separates us from God and hinders our prayers. “If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened” (Psalm 66:18). We have to forgive if we want to be forgiven and remember that God does not hold our sins against us.

It is not easy when we are hurt by others, especially when they are unrepentant. This is when we have to pray for them because it is difficult to forgive them without the grace of God. If we struggle with anger and bitterness, we have to ask the Holy Spirit to show us the root causes. We often treat the fruits when some emotions are deep rooted. We can carry roots of anger from our childhood and hold bitterness towards our parents for example. This can result from abuse, neglect or disappointment. The reality is that if we do not resolve these hurts then we will transfer these emotions into other relationships.

Tell God where it hurts and trust him to heal you. My Dad always says that, ‘God is a healer of mind and emotions.’ In the same way that we need physical healing for ailments when we are ill, we also need emotional healing from past hurts. Some emotional wounds if left untreated can also result in physical ailments. The Holy Spirit will show us where we have unhealed wounds and he will reveal in order to heal.

A.P.-Y.

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