Do You Have Hidden Anger?

anger-heartAnger can be overt – screaming, yelling, rage, throwing things, physically abusive, or it can be very covert. Many people suffer from underlying anger – slow simmering suppressed beneath the surface that surfaces occasionally. While this hidden anger is usually rooted in past childhood hurts, what lies underneath is ready to erupt at any moment much like a volcano.

For instance when someone does or says something wrong, the one with hidden and suppressed anger often overreacts. Or when someone makes an innocent mistake the magnitude of anger unleashed is out of proportion with the simple mistake. If you have hidden anger, you may find yourself at one extreme or another – hopelessness to extreme hostility and yet be completely unaware why you are experiencing these feelings and may even be clueless to the severity of your outbursts of anger towards others and how they are being hurt emotionally in the wake of your anger.

Unresolved anger causes deep wounds in your relationships with God and others. And it hurts little ones who are caught in the aftermath of a parent’s anger and may cause them to learn this modeled behavior to deal with conflict they will carry into adulthood affecting relationships at all levels.

This powerful emotion robs your heart of peace, joy and steals contentment from your spirit. It’s never too late to get to the root of anger and allow God to heal your heart. A willingness to admit you have hidden anger is the first step to freedom. God is faithful to heal and restore those who come to Him for healing

The Bible describes this perfectly. “When my heart was grieved, and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you.”

(Psalm 73:21–22)

Signs of Hidden Anger:

Do you become irritable over little things?

Do you smile on the outside, while you hurt on the inside?

Do those close to you say that you blame others?

Do you become easily frustrated?

Do you find your identity and worth in excessive work?

Do you deny ever being impatient?

Do you have to have the last word?

If you find that you have hidden anger commit to letting go with God’s help.

 

“You must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.” (Colossians 3:8). These things defile our hearts and keep us from intimacy with ourselves,

God and others.

A willingness to admit you have hidden anger is the first step to freedom. The next is identifying the source. Anger is a secondary emotion. It’s typically started and fueled by one of four sources: hurt, injustice, fear, or frustration. With these roots, anger is a secondary response to one or more of these four sources. Digging into buried feelings from your past can be painful. So, it can seem easier to stay angry than to uncover the cause, but God wants to set you free. He wants you to get rid of the bad fruit and be a storehouse that houses a plentiful harvest of good fruit. It’s not easy. It requires work and persistence. YOU ARE WORTH IT!

“ Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking a anything.” (James 1:4)

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Examining Our Hearts: Do You Harbor A Critical Spirit?

searchmeOne morning while a couple was having breakfast the wife looked out her window and saw her neighbor hanging clothes on the line to dry.  She noticed the wash dingy and dirty and said to her husband, “That lady doesn’t know how to wash clothes. I wonder if she uses cheap detergent?” Day after day she would look out the window and make the same comments, saying she couldn’t believe how the neighbors wore those dirty looking clothes. Then one day the woman looked out the window, and the clothes were clean and bright. She was surprised and said to her husband, “Look, Honey, I can’t believe it. She finally learned how to wash clothes. I wonder what happened?” Her husband smiled and said, “Honey, I got up early this morning and decided to clean our windows.”

We can learn an important lesson from this story.

A critical spirit taints every area of our lives. When we are critical and fault-finding in people or things around us, we need to stop and make sure it’s not our own dirty window that’s clouding what we see. A critical spirit follows you everywhere you go, and you can’t get away from it. If you can’t see anything in a positive light – if you only see the scratch in the floor and don’t see the beauty in the amazing house – if you only see what others do wrong and never what they do right – then you need to clean your window.

At some point, we need to look in the window and say “Maybe I’m the one who needs to change.” You see If you are always critical then maybe you’ve developed a habit of seeing the bad instead of the good. And perhaps your life filter is dirty. Perhaps you have become judgmental and condemning instead of giving people the benefit of the doubt, and maybe you have even become entitled to your critical spirit and feel justified in judging and condemning others.

The good news is that through the help of the Holy Spirit, you can change your way of thinking and begin to see people through God’s filter – through their strengths instead of their weaknesses. But it’s a choice that you will need to make. You can focus on their good qualities, or you can focus on the things you don’t like and magnify the faults of others and the characteristics that annoy you.

Some people have become so critical minded that no matter what is done for them, it’s never right or good enough. If it’s a spouse situation – our filter can get so skewed and tainted that we can never see their good and can even forget why we fell in love with them in the first place and magnify the wrong in them. If you struggle in this area, make a list of the good qualities you like about your spouse. Write down the good things your spouse does. And catch them doing something good and acknowledge it. For instance, your husband may not be the best communicator but is a hard worker. She may have some weaknesses but is an amazing mother.

Start focusing on the good things because if you have a critical spirit, your entire outlook may be poisoned and will damage your relationships and break intimacy with people, self, and God.  People respond more to praise than they respond to criticism.

What is the definition of being critical?

The dictionary describes it as one who is inclined to find fault, or judge with severity often too readily and condemn without facts.  So ask yourself. The same questions.

Am I inclined to find fault with people?

Do I judge with severity?

Do I condemn without facts?

Many people who are critical of others judge themselves in the same harsh matter. Is this you? Ask yourself

Do I think negative thoughts about myself?

Do I judge myself with severity?

Why do I do this?

The answer is often buried deep in the past. God is faithful to expose those root issues that are causing us to view the world, self, others including God through our dirty window.

“Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots.”

Mathew 15:13

“He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”

John 15:2

“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Psalm 139:23-24

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True Change

godly-sorrow

Repeated apologies, promises never to do it again, remorse, tears, pleading for another chance are things repeat abusers say to those they hurt. Whether they are causing harm through emotional or physical abuse, committing adultery, being deceptive, lying, cheating, or are engaged in other destructive behaviors such as addiction, they genuinely feel bad when exposed and confronted and offer appeasement for the moment but nothing changes.

The behavior continues causing pain and destruction at all levels in families and relationships. That’s because God’s word says there is a huge difference between being sorry and repentance, between regretting the wrongs we have committed and committing to change behaviors that bind and hurt others.

Worldly sorrow does not lead to the brokenness and humility needed to get the human heart to a place of genuine Godly sorrow and repentance before a Holy God that produces a desire to change. Worldly sorrow causes the heart to harden and brings forth death in all areas of our lives, while Godly sorrow softens the heart and brings forth life.

If we continue to allow others to appease us with worldly sorrow, then we must understand that things will remain the same. This is called enabling. We can’t change another person’s heart but God can. Release them to God, guard your heart, and pray the Lord will orchestrate whatever needs to take place to produce Godly sorrow in someone who is hurting themselves and others. That’s where true change begins.

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The Snare of Rejection

The Fear of Man

It’s been said that if you live for the acceptance of others, you will die from their rejection. If your sense of self-worth is based on the approval of others, your value is at the mercy of what others think about you. Your identity, who you are, how you see yourself is determined by how others see you and respond to you.

In our brokenness, we tend to give people a lot of power. People on the outside control my thoughts, feelings, and my will. They own me. I don’t know who I am, and I live in fear of failing to meet their approval and being rejected.

Only God is allowed to have control over our lives. We need to give our fear of rejection over to the Lord. He created us and established our worth. When we let His love pour into us, we learn to trust Him, and He will turn our fear into faith, and we will find full acceptance in the arms of our precious Savior.

If you believe that you may be living for the approval of others, evaluate the following statements and see if you identify with any of them.

I am not good enough.”

“I have to try harder.”

“I have to earn love.’

“I flatter people so they will like me.”

“I have to be perfect.”

“I always feel less than.”

“I know what I think is not important.”

“I know that I am not likable.”

“I never feel like I belong.”

“I don’t measure up.”

If you can relate to any of the above chances are that there is a deep root of rejection driving your need for approval and acceptance from others. Please understand that just because you have been rejected in the past, you don’t have to walk in fear that you will be rejected again by others. We can be so crippled by the fear of being rejected that without realizing it we can push others away, or create situations where we will be rejected fulfilling a self-imposed prophecy which causes us to continue to believe lies about ourselves and feel alone and rejected.

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Understanding Fear

Understanding FearFear is a strong emotional reaction to imminent danger – real or imagined, rational or irrational, normal or abnormal. It is a natural emotion designed by God. However, living with a fear based mentality or with a spirit of fear is not from God.

Sometimes fear is real, we get a call in the middle of the night. Those calls are usually never good news. Often, the caller is delivering some bad news such as someone we love has been in an accident. As a result, our hearts are gripped with fear of the unknown. Is my loved one going to survive? We can find out that we may lose our jobs due to layoffs. Or the doctor tells us we have a terminal illness. Most of us will face some of these life issues at some point in our lives. The fear is real. But often times it has no basis in reality. We can fear what has not happened or will never happen. We may be gripped with fear about the possibility of getting sick, getting in a car accident. We can fear rejection and never pursue friendships, job opportunities, relationships, and we can fear failure and never pursue anything

If you grew up in a home where fear reigned, and you didn’t experience love, safety, and security, you might have easily developed a fear based mentality. This abnormal fear cripples and stunts any personal growth or aspirations. It prevents a person from even trying, or leaving bad situations even abusive ones. It can also prevent us from seeking help for fear of what will be uprooted. Fear can also be the driving emotion behind anger. This is bondage, and we need to be set free.

God’s word tells that “perfect love cast out all fear.” (1 John 4:18) It makes sense then that if we are love deficient we are fear based. The solution is to Get God’s love in you. As easy as this may seem, for those who have been crippled in their ability to love and be loved because of the wounds of the past, it is extremely difficult. Only the truth of God’s love can penetrate the hardest of hearts. We can overcome fear through faith in a loving God.

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Domestic Abuse

I will sustain You.One out of three women is a victim of domestic abuse. They are everywhere. It could be the neighbor next door, the girl sitting next to you in Bible Study, or a family member close to you. They are very skilled in hiding their bruises and live lives filled with shame.

Because their spirits have been broken, they are terrified to get help for fear their abusers will follow through on their threat to kill them or their children. When they do seek help from their church, they are told to go back home and submit to their husbands. However, they are not giving the whole counsel of God.

The Bible teaches mutual submission in love and reverence to the Lord not a one sided abusive and demeaning tyrant like authoritarian submission that tears down and destroys hearts and families. That goes against God’s very Word which tells us to “Above all else, put on love which is the bond of perfection.” (Colossians 3:14) It also teaches that “Love does no harm to its neighbor.” (Romans 13:10). Nowhere in Scripture does it teach that wives are to submit to abuse.

However, as awful as the abuse is there is a root driving it, and there are reasons why victims allow the abuse to continue. Both are in need of help. But in order for the cycle of abuse to stop only one person needs to change. Either the abuser will get help, or the abused will stop allowing it. God offers healing to all who are hurting and broken. He sees it all. You are not alone and are not without hope. Seek help and stop the abuse.

“Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered. Or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.” (Proverbs 22:24-25)

True wisdom and guidance are found only in the whole counsel of God.

 

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Removing Shame

Removing ShameShame has no room in the life of a believer. Jesus has covered our guilt and shame. Our past does not define us. The sins that hurt us whether ours or someone else’s perpetrated against are not who we are.

They kept us from becoming who God creates us to be causing us to adopt unhealthy coping mechanisms and put up walls around our hearts to guard against being hurt. They kept everyone else out including God.

Addiction, sexual sin, bodily abuse, eating disorders, trauma, neglect, violence cannot be erased from our minds, but we can be free from their damaging effects on our souls.

God sets us free by helping us walk through and process the pain, removing the lies we have believed about ourselves, and offering and receiving forgiveness. This releases us from the bondage of being a byproduct of our past. Through the Sacrifice of our beloved Savior and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, we are set free.

We can replant and be rooted in God’s love and grace, but we must let go of the toxic things that keep us from living in freedom, growing and becoming who God created us to be

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Love Seeks The Highest Good For Another

Love Does No Wrong To Its NeighborThe greatest human need is for love. It’s a legitimate need placed in us by our creator. When this need is not met it can create a void so deep we go through life trying to fill it.It causes us to crave the approval and acceptance of others and drives us to engage in imbalanced relationships where we attach to unhealthy, emotionally unavailable people who often abuse and mistreat us. We will often compromise our morals, values, and beliefs for fear of losing them.

This creates a vicious cycle of feeling used, devalued, unappreciated, victimized opening the door to bitterness, resentments, unforgiveness, and hopelessness. The only way to stop the cycle is to get a healthy dose of real love – the love of Jesus. Love seeks the highest good for another. Our Savior demonstrated this perfectly at the cross.

We will never be able to engage in healthy relationships unless we receive the fullness of God’s love. Only His love satisfies. If you are desperately seeking the love and approval of those who continually hurt you it may be a sign that you have not encountered the Love of Jesus in your heart where you see yourself as He sees you – A precious child of the Living God.

When you remove barriers that hinder the ability to live in the fullness of His love for you, it will radically change the people you attract and allow close to your heart. You will desire to engage in relationships that honor God, bless you and seek the highest good for others.

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