I realized tonight that a small flame was burning inside of my heart, and I’m not talking aobut the good kind: you know – the type that ignites passion and brings about glory to God? I’m talking about the kind akin to what is seen in the image above…the deadly kind.
Yes, Annie needs some heart help again, and my Jesus, my Savior, is going to deliver!
Tonight I have to admit to you, my dear friends, that I began (over this last few days) to sense the seeds of bitterness taking root in my heart regarding a few people I have been interacting with of late.
Yesterday, these little seeds started to feel hot in my heart and I realized, when it peaked today that a fire was about to start.
That fire is what we call Anger – unrighteous anger. And it’s not a pretty state of the heart at all.
Proverbs 15:18 A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.
I was not slow to anger regarding several hurts that I have experienced in the last few days or weeks. The enemy tried to make me think that I was – he tried to trick me into believing that I was “just hurt” and not angry at all. He tried to make me think that I had every right to be hurt and that I could just take it for what it was and move on instead of dealing with it.
It worked for a while. And it spelled D-A-N-G-E-R.
Proverbs 14:16,17 (KJV) A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident. He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated.
But see, that (“push it down – ignore it”) series of evil little whispers are what caused my little hurts to have time to turn to bitterness, and that bitterness was developing into full blown and ugly, dark anger.
As the verse says above, this can then lead to foolish behavior – and I can’t afford any of that at all! I’m already struggling in many ways to stay coherent without the fire of anger raging and clouding up my heart or my brain any more than it already is (ha ha).
That last little comment may be funny, but t’s also (sadly) true.
Proverbs 14:29 Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.
I spoke in another blog post not too long ago about not being quick to be offended. I also spoke about desiring to love others for their imperfections. I realize God may have placed this situation in my life to help me be blessed in finding the way to bring that desire into a reality in my heart. I just didn’t choose (right away) to let it be that. Instead, I chose to pout – feel hurt – and let a fire start. Ug.
I want to have great understanding. I want to have good sense. The kind that comes from God and obedience to Him and His commandments!
Proverbs 19:11 Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.
Tonight in a different passage of scripture that we were studying in church, our pastor shared what many pastors over the years have talked about….”sin makes you stupid.” It’s so true. It’s not good sense to be quick to anger. It’s also quite stupid to leave something like bitterness or hurt alone – it always bites back – it always evolves and spirals out of control. This is a case where “ignoring” it is really fear based and not ignoring at all. It’s festering. I’m just calling it what it is.
We feel what we feel, and I can’t help but still feel hurt by some of these things that others have displayed, or not displayed of late. But I can bring glory and honor to the Lord in going to Him and asking Him to give me His power and love so as to overlook those “offenses.” Who knows? Maybe I’m out there offending people left and right without even realizing it. Wouldn’t I want to be given the same benefit of the doubt and pardon and forgiveness too?
I want to lighten up about all of this, instead of lighting a fire of anger in my heart – or fueling one that is already trying to ignite.
God can help us to do that, but we do need to ask for that help. I failed to do that until today.
I plan to do so over and over again, for however long it takes. If I have to go to Him day after day to get this junk extinguished out of my volatile little heart, so be it. I want to be filled with His light versus enveloped in a raging fire that is full of stupid, unproductive, and toxic stuff. Maybe that’s why He allowed it to be there in the first place. He knew I needed some more heart work. I guess it will always be so.
If you feel angry, or even if you just feel the first pangs of hurt or bitterness that may soon turn into a raging fire, I encourage you to go to the Lord in prayer and humility – you have company, I promise! He can put out the fire that is ugly and replace it with the kind that produces good fruit and cleanses us from the inside out. We can do this together.
We may not feel so great about these things that people do that hurt us, but we can choose to respond with a contrite heart instead of one that is ready to BBQ anyone who hurts us. I just hope to be able to recognize such things sooner in my life than I did this time! Maybe that’s what this greater understanding He speaks about so often really is about: knowing that only HE fully understands and only HE can help us get past our hurts and hearts and selves and be more and more like Him.
“Anger and bitterness are two noticeable signs of being focused on self and not trusting God’s sovereignty in your life. When you believe that God causes all things to work together for good to those who belong to Him and love Him, you can respond to trials with joy instead of anger or bitterness.” ~ John C. Boger
Isn’t it wonderful to know that even deadly fire is not beyond the reach of God and His mighty ability to extinguish all that is not of Him – all that is evil – all that is ugly? Isn’t it so much better to be filled with Him – the Living Water – not be thirsty and parched from the smoke and poison of sin?
He is the living water. That’s a pretty great fire extinguisher if you ask me.