I will start by saying that I crave God’s peace. He is holy and magnificent among other things. He loves us and has paid the ultimate price. How then can we have a “peace” of God?
Turning From Evil
“They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it.” 1 Peter 3:11
The first time I picked up the Bible I tried to read it from Genesis to Revelation. A bit more of the back story: I did not grow up with an understanding of who Jesus was or any of the biblical stories, so reading the Bible from the first to last page had me to a point of frustration and was also a very humbling experience.
There were not many subjects I had a difficulty mastering once I was in high school and whilst being confident in my skill I had no lack of pride.
Why did I mention this as an experience of turning from evil? Well, pride is a very deadly sin. Pride is being satisfied with your own achievements. It is deadly because there is no room for God and pride. With pride comes the thoughts of “this was made possible because of me” or “the only reason this happened was due to me.”
Pride in your own mind sets you above others and says that you can do, that you know and that you are better than all others. It is the exact opposite of what we are to be- kind and humble.
I mention it because throughout time pride has become the sin that has been made unclear as to if it truly is good or bad. It is a word we use freely and with many different meanings: I am proud to be a (fill in the blank), I am proud of my child, I am proud of my spouse, and many more.
I want to clear up that true pride is a belief that you are better than others so to be proud in someone is not possible. To be proud of your child or spouse is saying that they are good because they were choices made by you. Pride is dangerous because it hides behind “kindness” and “righteousness.”
Isaiah 55:8 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways…” The view that God has is much higher than our own. He sees everything. We see what is in front of us.
In order to turn from evil we must be aware that what we know is different from what God knows. We must also realize that what we believe to be true and righteous, if it doesn’t line up with what the Bible says, may have been made righteous by man through our downward spiral in time.
What to Pursue
We have an instruction manual of life that gives us examples of both good and evil. Here are some passages that list what is good:
- Proverbs 31– Though it describes a noble woman, we are given the virtues of a good person, it includes: trust, not giving harm, giving food, sharing strength, working diligently, being wise and faithful.
- Galatians 5:23– This verse has a list of the fruits of the Spirit and gives us a solid understanding of what is good- love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
- 1 Corinthians 13– I love this chapter because it lets us know the priority of gifts. If we were to have everything good but were to lack love we truly missed the point. 1 Corinthians 13 goes on to describe what love is and goes on to say that when there is only faith, love and hope that love will be above the others.
My Experience with Anger
To be completely transparent right now: I have had a rocky road when it comes to anger. When it comes to being upset there is no gradual increase but an extreme escalation from 0-9,000 on a scale on maybe 100. I would love to be exaggerating but I have had some bad moments when it comes to my temper.
I have experienced a dark tunnel and accelerated heart rate while being angry. Looking back I would have loved to handle the situations differently but am so grateful for God’s mercy that He has brought me to a place where I am able to learn from my mistakes.
Anger brings no resolution. It truly only harms those that are around and the one who is angry. There are no good feelings and it is difficult to speak effective solutions while upset. I am by no means saying that it is wrong to become upset or frustrated only that there are proper ways of responding while in those situations.
To sum up my experience with anger I will say that I am still working on appropriately handling stressful situations- which are usually the situations that I show anger or a strong frustration towards. I’ve realized that anger and frustration are a cover up to the true emotions that I am trying to hide in those moments and the most common and dreaded emotion is fear.
Here are some examples of times that I have showed anger as my “go-to” emotion and the underlying emotion that tried to disguise itself as anger:
- I have gotten frustrated when I have come close to a deadline (the fear of missing the deadline and letting someone down)
- I have become upset at others driving abilities (the fear that someone I love may have been hurt)
- I have been angry when I could not properly communicate my feelings (the fear of losing someone close to me due to a lack of communication)
- I have also been angry at people for various reasons (the fear that I was not good enough for them)
God has told me different from the fears that I have listed above.
I will now provide evidence that counters each fear that I have had.
- Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
- To be saved by grace means that God already knew there would be mistakes made. What he wants for us is to turn to him and to receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior. God holds the world and has told us to bear the yoke of Christ not to hold the weight of the world.
- Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
- I cannot stress enough that God does not hurt us. I have used children as an example many times and it is because they teach us so much! A child will fall on their own and blame whoever is near them. At times, we can display this same behavior and lash out at those around us. God works for our good and he does so all the time and in all things.
- Ephesians 4:31-32 “Get rid of all bitterness, passion, and anger. No more shouting or insults, no more hateful feelings of any sort. Instead, be kind and tenderhearted to one another, and forgive one another, as God has forgiven you through Christ.”
- By being angry and bitter I gain nothing. Being angry is like throwing a glass and then picking up the pieces and trying to tape them back together. Anger leaves hurt and scars where ever it goes and has no healing in it’s touch. God has forgiven us through Jesus and has shown us by action how to do so. When we are kind and tenderhearted we are better able to explain how we feel and this also allows us to truly understand how we are feeling.
- John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
- This verse leaves me breathless. It makes any anger I have simmer out like a doused fire. God gave his Son for me. He did this to save me. He knew that I would get upset but gave his beautiful and perfect Son regardless of my short sight. God said right here in this verse that I was enough and that you are also enough.
Both fear and pride are not of God and they come in disguise of many different emotions. What is important to remember is this: God loves both you and I!