That feeling that comes when provoked by something offensive.
It starts in your chest and burns through your limbs like your blood is boiling. Your vision becomes blurred, linear, and red. Your heart pounds and your hands may even shake.
This is an example of a healthy, fully fed spirit of anger.
A more subtle example might be less obvious.
Not fully fed, slightly anemic but still there. Provoked by offense but possibly yielded to the Father. You might feel a sharp zing but you are quick to pray. Asking Jesus why you feel that way. Asking Him if you’re being prideful. Asking why you’re offended.
You can be right, and still be wrong.
I have some strong opinions about our current climate in culture. To be honest, I feel like my opinions align with Gods (as many do). But if I allow pride, offense and anger to rule in my life, I’ll be in love with my opinions and lacking love for others.
If I’m being completely transparent, I am angry and offended that I have to wear a mask. I feel like I’m being coerced into decisions rooted in fear and greed. And while I have done much research and I do believe I have a Godly perspective on it; temptation lies in standing on the rock of those opinions vs standing on Jesus.
Jesus is all about love.
His Kingdom doesn’t look the way we expect at all. His justice is radical grace that transforms hearts.
Am I known for my opinions or am I known for loving like Christ?
I might be right (humbly, I might not, but I believe I am) yet if I’m not yielding my will over to Jesus and asking for His will in exchange, I’m foolish.
This doesn’t mean we throw in the towel on our opinions and what stirs our hearts. It means we check ourselves before we wreck ourselves.
My opinions may still stand but what needs to abound is love.
Here is what that tangibly looks like for me in my exact situation.
I wear a mask to honor those around me that prefer it. I share the love of God and what His heart is for them rather than the evidence of why I’m right in my opinions. If someone gives me space to share, I will. But I’ve had to learn the hard way to humble myself, hold my tongue and lean on love instead of word vomiting my perspective all over them. I have had encounters with people where I asked myself the question after, “did they experience the love of Jesus through me in that moment?” And the answer was no. They experienced the love of my own opinions. My full blown angry, offended, pride is what they left with.
Regardless of if I was right, I was wrong.
However, when I have led with love, with no intentions of sharing my opinions, sometimes I get a seat at their table. When that happens occasionally Holy Spirit will ask me to share my perspective on things. When it’s done completely led by Him, they feel loved. They still may not see eye to eye, but they walked away knowing that I loved them regardless of that.
Our current culture is so divisive.
Are we known for continuing to alienate others, feed rejection and destroy the only treasure we take with us when we die? Relationships.
Or can we stand in love, in union, accepting others the way Jesus accepted us?
To be clear, you do not have to agree to be loving. You do not have to share the same opinions to be accepted or accept someone else. You can have a different perspective and still pray blessings over others. This is what it looks like to walk in love and not lean on our own understanding but in all our ways yield to Him and He makes straight our paths.
I’ll leave you with this:
To get rid of toxic anger and offense. Repent.
Go to the Lord and tell Him you’re done with being angry and offended and you’re sorry you partnered with it. Ask Him to help you get it out of your life and keep the door closed to it. Acknowledge you can’t do it on your own and need His help. Renounce it out loud. Forgive whoever needs to be forgiven. God may even lead you to to apologize. Remember there’s no “but” in a true apology. Pray for the people who offended you the way you want to be prayed for. Forgive current and past relatives that lived angry and offended lives. Ask God to fill you with compassion and patience. Ask Him to show you His love for you that you can love others as He does. Ask Him to show you His heart for those who have offended you and made you angry.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.”
Proverbs 3:5-8 NIV
“Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, For anger rests in the bosom of fools.”
Ecclesiastes 7:9 NKJV
“A fool is in love with his own opinion, but wisdom means being teachable. If you shrug off an insult and refuse to take offense, you demonstrate discretion indeed. But the fool has a short fuse and will immediately let you know when he’s offended.”
Proverbs 12:15-16 TPT
“When your heart overflows with understanding you’ll be very slow to get angry. But if you have a quick temper, your impatience will be quickly seen by all.”
Proverbs 14:29 TPT
“It’s easier to carry a heavy boulder and a ton of sand than to be provoked by a fool and have to carry that burden! The rage and anger of others can be overwhelming, but it’s nothing compared to jealousy’s fire. It’s better to be corrected openly if it stems from hidden love. You can trust a friend who wounds you with his honesty, but your enemy’s pretended flattery comes from insincerity.”
Proverbs 27:3-6 TPT
“When your soul is full, you turn down even the sweetest honey. But when your soul is starving, every bitter thing becomes sweet.”
Proverbs 27:7 TPT
“If a ruler’s anger rises against you, do not leave your post; calmness can lay great offenses to rest.”
Ecclesiastes 10:4 NIV
“Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.”
James 1:26 NIV
“because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”
James 1:20 NIV
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
James 1:19, 22 NIV
~ Amanda Santistevan