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Anger and Bitterness

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Anger and Bitterness
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  • As we saw in the previous lesson, our "unpleasant" emotions can be an obstaclein believing God's truth. Actually, they are merely acting as messengers, alertingus to what we are thinking and believing. It is import~t that we recognize whatwe are feeling and evaluate what is taking place in our soul (mind, will, andemotions).

    Anger is a normal part of our total emotional spectrum.

    Anger can be likened to power, sex, or fire. These things are neither inherentlyright nor wrong, but they become right or wrong only as they are used properlyor abused. To determine if the anger we feel is appropriate, we must identify thebasis of our anger and evaluate how we express it.

    The Apostle Peter, at the time of Jesus' arrest, is a good example of aninappropriate response ca~ by the emotion of anger.

    And behold! one of those who were with Jesus reached and drewout his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest, and cut offhis ear. Then Jesus said to him, IIPut your sword back into itsplace; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by thesword.1I Matthew 26:51-54, NAS

    Peter's anger was based on his love for Christ, but he failed to control the, ,

    expression of his anger. Anger was not the problem, b~_~_~ion of hisange!_~as inapP!oEri_ate.One cause of anger is blocked or unmet expectations.

    An ex~ation is something we are looking forward to or assume will take place.Throughout life, we all develop expectations which are usually produced bycomparing ourselves with others ("They get to ..., so why can't I?") or fromcommitments people make or imply. Some expectations result from valid needsin our lives such as the need to feel loved, accepted, and secure. When theseexpectations are not met in the ways that we desire, the emotional reaction isoften anger.

    7.3CCOPYRIGHT 1998. 2nd Edition 2001 SCOPE MINISTRIES INTL INC

    One "unpleasant" emotion that everyone experiences is anger. It is one of thestrongest of emotions. The Bible says "be angry, and yet do not sin" (Ephesians4:26). God is holy, and Jesus is without sin, yet the Bible records both expressingthe emotion of anger.

    The New World Dictionary defines anger as "a feeling of displeasure resultingfrom injustice, injury, mistreatment, opposition, etc., and usually showing itselfin a desire to fight back at the supposed cause of this feeling; intense displeasureor exasperation; an emotional state of hostility, indignation, and revenge."

  • Expet1ations, Anger, and Biltelne$

    First, we need to yield our expectations and rights to God.

    Anger becomes a problem when we deal with it improperly. A way to safeguardagainst responding in anger is to yield our expectations to God. In yielding, wechoose to let God meet our needs in the ways He sees best instead of the way wewant to see things done. We choose to trust and look to Him as the source of ourcontentment instead of looking to circumstances and people to give us joy. Weneed to acknowledge our anger to ourselves and God.

    Sometimes anger masks other painful emotions such as fear and hurt. EQ!-

    fugemotiQD. It is less painful to "cover up" the real problems with aninappropriate expression of anger. Likewise, if I am ~fraid of something, I mayexpress inappropriate anger rather than admit to being fe~. It is vita) that weexpress our anger to God and allow Him to show us the cause of our ange~ch~~~-OL.suppress..~er, -itwillmanifes~If -in our behavi;e~i!!!y-aff~ Ollf e!!'~!1tLI)Da 1 ann/ nr ph~i('~ I health.The following diagram is helpful in understanding the downward progression ofemotions when we fail to deal properly with unmet expectations and unresolvedanger. ,-,

    Anger BitternessExpectationsCure:

    Resentment

    Comparisons Forgiveness VengeanceYieldexpectationsas act of trustin God. IngratitudeVerbal

    CommitmentsDepression

    ~en ~e don't address our anger properly-it will turn illtq Qitt~mess. The Bibletalks about this as developing a root of bitterness. The Biblical definition ofbitterness is "resentfulness" or "harshness" and is referred to specifically inEphesians 4:31 and Hebrews 12:15. T~~~~~rn~sl.wew~tchQ9~jQjQrgiY~__Q.fu~_~for w~_at h~s h~p~~-J!!l

  • ..;.EXpecratlOOS. Anger, and Bmerness

    let allbilterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slanderbe put away from you, along with all malice.

    Ephesians 4:31 NASSee to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that noroot of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many bedefiled. Hebrews 12: 15 NAS

    Bitterness is the result of a perceived right that has be~n violated.

    IfL~_~~~~-~jQ ~eness, we will hold the offen~~~e(~ty)!or ~~. We then begin to accumulate fault in our mind towardshim which we will bring up when the situation calls for it. ~w~~tfo .." .God. This

    is a orm 0 vengeance.

    Bitterness causes emotional, physi,cal and spiritual bondage.

    but ill ~tv we are hurting o~~. Bitterness creates a feeling of distance inour fellowship with God. Emotionally, it can cause anxiety, stress, and depression.Physically, it can cause anything from headach~ and fatigue to ulcers andarthritis. U!!feSQlved @&er ~ ~ves_Satan an_oE1?Q~!'y to wreak hay~ llQur~.

    ---do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not givethe devil an opportunity- Ephesians 4:26b-27 NAS

    Bitterness affects not only us but will con?minate all our relationships.

    Bitterness is like a cancer. Just as cancer will eventually spread throughout ourentire bodY,l,1itlgrn~~ will eventually affect all our relationshiEs. A~i!!er ~~~mescritical, cynical. hateful. and h~rsh-

    , .

    In His love, God desires to free us from this renegade em~tion. His solution isforgiveness. ~arly ~trMcts us to love our enemies and do good to those:!:,!:h9~n:e_aLus '(Luke 6:27:28). It is our namn: as God's children to forgive others asGod has forgiven us.

    And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other,just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32 NAS

    ~-n1~OO~ to for&ive those who have blocked our..expfctatioQ~ Qr inj~~ If we do n~L~e bittem~, ~ roots..8!QlV-.~ re$entmen!,~eance, and deprefif!i9n.: \::Ie ~ becom~_1!,11~ble topg sa~fied, mQ w~locus to~y OQour !!!!ill~~~~ations and.the-Dnes ~&ed_lQmeelthm:~~ds us as t2h~,!! God is mee!i!1~ O);!! n~~~

    7.5INC.

  • ExpedatiO!Js, Anger, and Binerness Forgiveness is a characteristic of our new identity in Christ.

    God's forgiveness of us motivates and allows us to forgive others.

    ...bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoev-er has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you,so also should you. Colossians 3: 13, NAS

    Forgiveness is more than an outward behavior.

    FORGIVENESS IS NOT:ignoring/ disregarding the

    wrong donetolerating the personexcusing the personforgetting about thewrong done

    letting time passallowing abusebeing nice to the personkeeping silentsaying, "I forgive you."based on feelings

    Forgiveness is not ignoring, disregarding, tolerating, excusing, overlooking orclosing our eyes to the wrong another person has done against us.[t is not simplyletting time pass after the offense has been committed. It is not trying to forgetthat the offense happened or pretending that it didn't. It is not j~t resigningourselves to the other person's actions by saying, "Well, that's just the way he is." ~For 've .not u ..the osition to be abu r victimized~

    Forgiveness is a deliberate decision to cancel the debt owed.

    FORGIVENESS IS:canceling a debt owedgiving the person to Godyielding our rights to Godtrusting God to redeemthe situation

    yielding our right to punishnot seeking revengeor getting even

    not judging or condemningnot keeping scoreextending mercy and gracemaking a conscious choice

    ~venessis_fure~oing what we feel is dueJlS and d~laring th~~r,5Qnnoty

    done.-

    The process of forgiveness includes:1. Acknowledging the offense to God.2. Expressing to God how it made you feel.3. Expressing to God your decision to canc~l the debt.

    .Giving up the right to punish or get even.

    .Giving up the right to judge or condemn.

    .Giving up the demand that they make right the wrong done.4. Accepting the person just as they are.

    .Yield expectations to God.

    .Trust God to meet your needs.

    .Pray God's best for that individual.5. Being willing to risk being hurt again.

    .Take down any walls of self-protection.

    .Trust God to heal and protect you should you be hurt again.

    Forgiveness requires our trust in God's character.

    We must trust in God's faithfulness to work everything out for good, even ourinjury and pain.

    7.6 OCOPYRIGHT

  • Ex~ionI, Anger; and BitternessAnd as for you, you meant evil against me, but Gbd meant1t forgood. ..Genesis 50:200, NAS

    And we know that God causes all things to work together forgood to those who love God, to those who are called accordingto His purpose. Romans 8:28, NAS

    Even after we have made the choice to forgive, t,he emotions of anger andbitterness may stiIllinger. Our emotions will evenhlally reflect God's heart ofmercy and compassion as we continue to renew oui minds with truth andreaffirm our decision to forgive.

    What if our bitterness is toward God?

    Even when we are angry at God, He does not condemn or become angry with us.He is committed to us and always responds with mercy and love. Therefore,w en w ith God we need to choose to trust in God's lovin andmerciful character. We must trust that e is wor .the circumstan in ourlLf~t-:oI o_ur gO-Q

  • ~Expet1atiOl1\, Anger, and B~ Conclusion:

    Expectations, anger, and bitterness all need to be recognized and acknowledgedto God. As we interact with our Heavenly Father, He will reveal to us the causeso we can apply His solution. Although anger is common to all as a result of theFall! it is not the norm for the Spirit-filled Christian. Christ has truly set us freefrom being controlled by anger and bitterness. The more we learn to walk by theSpirit, the more love will be the controlling factor in our lives.

    rSUMMARY:

    1. Anger can result from blocked or unmet expectations or goals. God'ssolution for anger is to yield our expectations and rights to God.Unresolved anger leads tobittemess.

    2. Bitterness can result from a perceived right that has been.violated.God's solution for bitterness begins with understanding and receivingGod's complete forgiveness.

    3. By receiving God's forgiveness of us we can make a deliberate choice toforgive others.

    A Life Transformedl con It.

    0 COPYRIGHT 1998. 2nd Edition 2001 SCOPE MINISTRIES INT'L INC.7.8

    ~

  • Expectations Anger Bitterness

    Resentment

    Vengeance

    Ingratitude

    Depression

    Throughout life, we all develop expectations. They are usually produced by comparing ourselves with others ("They get0, so why can't Ir') or from commitments people make or imply. Some expectations result from valid needs in our lives,4Ich as being loved, accepted, and feeling secure. When those expectations are not met in the ways we want them to beJlet by others or by God, the emotional reaction is often anger.

    The Bible says to "be angry, and yet do not sin" (Ephesians 4:26). Anger becomes a problem when we deal with itimproperly. A way to safeguard against res~~iin~geris to yield our e~tions)Q~. In -'y!eldin,e;, I ~ to

    I decide to trust Himand look to Him as the source of m contentment,' 0 , and seCuri instead of 100' to circumstances or to other Ie.

    However, what if I don't recognize an expectation I have and I get angry? What if the anger remains in my heart an4 turnsinto bittern~? T~ deal with ~ger and ~itterness, I can choose t~ forgive ?thers for what has ~ppened.and relea.se themfrom my expectations. God will deal WIth them, so I defer that nght to Him. If I do not deal WIth the bItterness, Its rootsgrow down deeper and deeper into resentment, vengeance, and depression (Hebrews 12:15). I become unable to besatisfied and focus totally on the unmet expectation and the one who failed to meet it. I become unable to see how Godis meeting my needs. But, what if the anger is at God? Then, I must make a choice to trust in God's loving and mercifulcharacter, that He is working all circumstances in my life for the good (Romans 8:28) and that He will provide my everyneed (philippians 4:19) in His way.ASSIGNMENT:

    1. list any incident in your past that causes ongoing hurt. List each person who has contributed to your hurts.2. Ask God to make you willing to forgive these people, and even yourself, and to trust Him to work all together

    for good.3. By faith, choose to forgive the offenders by an act of your will, apart from what your emotions or reason are

    telling you. Verbalize this choice to God. Trust God to change your feelings of anger and hurt in His timing.

    7.21e COPYRIGHT INC.

  • Name Date

    Answer the following questions. To turn in page to small group leader, use identicalperforated page in back of book.

    4. Have you forgiven those who have hurt you? If not, what do you think are theobstacles to forgiving them?

    C COPYRIGHT 1998. 2nd Edition 2001 SCOPE MINISTRIES1NTL INC. 7.19 ..

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