What to do with anger and resentment

anger-is-an-acid-that-can-do-more-harm-to-the-vessel-anger-quoteMark Twain seemed to be not only a great author but a very wise man. All of us get angry from time to time. People wrong us, hurt us, make us mad either intentionally or unintentionally. Or they wrong or hurt people we love. And when it comes to someone wronging or hurting one of our children, well, sometimes that stirs the most anger of all. So what to do when we become angry? Is it even ok to be angry? We can look to the Bible for answers. First, anger is an emotion that is God-given. God got angry many times that his people weren’t obedient. And Jesus was probably angry when he saw that the temple had become a marketplace or “den of robbers,” overturned the tables and yelled at and drove out the money changers. Apparently it’s ok to be angry. It’s what we do with our anger that’s important. “Be angry, and yet do not not sin,” St. Paul says to the Ephesians. “Do not let the sun go down on your anger and do not give the devil an opportunity.” (Eph 4:26-27) When we hold onto our anger too long it can often become a resentment and that isn’t good either. (Resent means to “re-feel” or feel over and over). I believe anger turns into resentment when we allow it to fester by either keeping it in and not dealing with it, or by being unwilling to forgive the person who caused the anger. I have been angry at someone who wronged and hurt one of my children. That person is probably unaware of the depth of my anger because I have not had the opportunity to convey it. But I am talking to another trusted person so I can let my anger, little by little, go. I am praying to forgive the person, so at least I am willing. I am avoiding the person for now so that I don’t say or do anything “sinful” until I am ready to face the person without anger. Only I will know when my anger starts to turn into a resentment and starts blocking me mentally, emotionally and spiritually. And then I’ll need to pray that God remove that as well. In my novel, The Runaway Prophet, a modern-day bible story based on the Book of Jonah, Rory Justice gets angry when God saves the people of Las Vegas, even though that’s what Rory is sent out to help God do. Rory (like Jonah) doesn’t believe the sinners deserve to be saved and he develops a resentment against them. And of course, all types of bad things happen to Rory (Jonah) when he continues to act out of his resentment instead of trust God.  Even if a person, in our opinion, doesn’t deserve forgiveness, it’s important for us to forgive and put justice in God’s hands so we don’t end up letting our anger turn into a resentment. “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘vengeance is mine I will repay,’ says the Lord. Above all else, I need to have faith and take comfort in the fact that God has a plan.



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