We learned how to deal with lingering anger in our lives. Today we’ll discover God’s principle for preventing long-term resentment. The key is to deal with this dangerous emotion promptly.
It’s important to realize that believers can have moments of anger and still remain right with God. Yet anger that is allowed to linger and fester is an opportunity for Satan. He quickly plants justifications in our mind: That person deserves to be yelled at. You shouldn’t be treated that way! God understands that you’re frustrated. By handing people excuses to build a defense for harboring fury, Satan creates a stronghold in their lives. It is a foolish man or woman who hides behind that wall (Eccl. 7:9).
We are not to lay even one brick for the Devil’s stronghold. Instead, believers must respond to provocation by forgiving others as God forgives. His mercy is unconditional; there’s no wrong that He does not pardon. Believers cannot stand before God and justify harboring long-term anger. So we must release it at once through forgiveness.
We can further protect ourselves by identifying frequent irritants. When those situations (or people) loom, we should pray that God makes us quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger (James 1:19). That is the spiritual fruit of self-control in action.
Anger produces only rotten fruit—sour relationships, a poor witness, etc. The wise believer takes a two-fold approach to dealing with it. First, heed the Bible’s 300-plus warnings about this dangerous emotion and be vigilant against it. And second, forsake your anger in favor of forgiveness.