Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Steps to Escaping the Cage of Bitterness & Anger

We all experience anger...

Every person that is breathing air today is a candidate for being angry. It's not something we're looking for or trying to become, but whether we realize it or not, our circumstances have the ability to lead us to anger. Notice I didn't say, "lead us into anger."

I've realized something about anger; our circumstances can lead us to anger, but they can't MAKE us angry. Anger is a choice. Anger is an internal reaction that is perceived to have an external cause. And if you notice, angry people almost always blame their reactions and emotions on somebody or something other than themselves. Rarely does an angry person realize that their anger is based on an irrational perception of the world. Think about that... at the root of anger is a skewed perception of reality.

Angry people have a certain perception and expectation of the world they live in, and when the reality of the world doesn't meet their expectations of the world, then they become angry (due to the gap or the disconnect between the two; expectation vs. reality).

Anger is something we all experience and the Bible is clear in instructing us to get rid of the anger we experience.

Ephesians 4:31-32
"Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice..."

The Bible is pretty clear that if we fail to address the anger in our hearts, then that anger becomes something even uglier than anger itself... Bitterness. Bitterness is the unharvested fruit of anger and it destroys your life from the inside. Bitterness was a choice just like anger, and the only way to escape the cage of bitterness is by making the decision to eliminate the bitterness from your world.

This week at Access, I shared a 6 step process of eliminating bitterness from your life. I prefaced it by saying that it wasn't easy to do these things, but if you will, it will be a freeing experience:

1. Make a list of ways a person has offended you. Be specific.

2. Make a list of your own faults.

3. Ask God to allow you to see your offender like He sees them.

4. Ask God to forgive the bitterness you had against them.

5. Assume responsibility for your own attitude.

6. If appropriate: Arrange a time to confess and ask forgiveness from your offender for the anger and bitterness you've had against them.

(Remember: Their response and whether or not they apologize or ask for forgiveness isn't your responsibility)

*Excerpts from the message, "Escaping the Cage of Bitterness and Anger" at the Access Service at Second Baptist Houston on Sunday, February 27, 2011. To download the FREE PODCAST, click HERE.

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