Anger and hate... what are they? Though at times they will appear to be similar there is actually a vast difference between the two of them. Let us take anger first.
You are in the park with your family enjoying the outing. A pleasant day and everything seems so right. Then along comes a teenager with a big boom box. He sits near to where you are and turns it on. Instantly you are bombarded with lyrics that are indecent. Annoyed you ask if he can turn it down. Instead the teen raises the volume to full blast. Your baby starts to cry, the rest are getting upset yet asking the teen again to turn down the volume falls on deaf ears. Adrenaline pumping, eyes dilating you walk over and threaten to do him bodily harm. The teen laughs at you and you throw a punch knocking him down. Your wife starts to speak and you yell at her. You are furious. Fit to be tied. Your angry...
As Christians we too often think that the anger was the first sin and that led to the rest of the events. Thinking that it is a sin to get angry is the most common mistake many make. The scriptures say "be angry and sin not." Human emotions are simply the reaction of the soul to the events happening to it. Whether apathy, grief, fear, anger, boredom or happy... they are simply emotions. Christians are not some strange breed of being that once they accept Jesus they no longer feel the results of events happening to their bodies or environment. Jesus Himself got angry on many occasions when He saw how the Pharisees were treating the things of God. Remember Him clearing the temple?
Oh! But that was righteous anger. True... But it was anger. He lashed out at the sellers and money changers. The actions were just. The lesson clear cut. But the emotion of anger was just that, anger, an emotion. Of itself neither good nor bad. It is the action that the anger brings about that makes the situation either good or bad.
Like all emotions it causes us to react in various ways. It spurs some form of action. Perhaps even noble actions and at other times disgrace. It is natural to feel emotions from Apathy to Happiness. If you wish to become mentally ill simply suppress all the natural emotions you are feeling. When you tether the soul so that it no longer has those feelings you have become a block of wood. Your responses become unnatural, forced and a lie. When the holy fire of God comes wood is one of those things that will be consumed. If you wish to live life to the fullest you need to set your emotions free to respond to the events happening about you.
So then... when you get angry get really angry? Not at all. There is also a problem of giving free license to your emotions. Over-reacting to situations causes harm to yourself as well as when trying to suppress emotions. Almost all of us know of at least one person who laughs too much. It is an unnatural response to what is occurring. So too with anger. A child breaks a toy and the father picks up the child and throws him across the room. The man needs help. These types of extremes occur when the individual has a long-standing, underlying problem. Help is required to aid the person back to a healthy emotional life.
Until the underlying issue is resolved becoming friends with an angry person can certainly place you and those around you in jeopardy. Proverbs says not to make friends with an angry man. Note... that does not mean someone who gets angry at times but someone who gets angry too often or too easily. If you are the angry person admit that you have a problem. Not that you get angry but that something is pushing the anger up so your responses are unnatural.
As for the rest... Don't let the sun go down on your anger. Emotionally healthy people can usually resolve the issue or circumstance that brought about the anger. Of course there are times when this will not be possible because of the stubbornness of the other individual or a particular circumstance. It is at times like these that one must go to the Lord in prayer and place that person or circumstance, with your anger, on the altar of God and allow Him to deal with the issue.
Anger is an emotional state of the soul. Hate on the other hand is a condition of the heart... the spirit. Please do not get the two of them confused. It is possible for someone to be in apathy, fear, anger, boredom even happy in the presence of a person and still have hate in his heart. It matters not what emotional state a person is in when in your presence, the hate can still be there. It is like love... you can be angry with someone you love but that doesn't mean you hate them. Far from it in fact.
Anger is more of the idea of lashing out, reacting, to someone or something that is causing you pain or loss. It is the state of mind that wants to use force to correct a situation. It is a reaction to the environment. Hatred on the other hand is wanting to cause pain or loss to another. Hatred rests more on the idea of a planned response to a situation or person. Anger over a period of time, if left unresolved, can lead to hatred being formed in the heart. You cannot learn to be angry. You can learn to hate.
That is why God looks at anger and hate differently. There have been many good people who were angry with God at times. God deals with them in various ways. Yet when it comes to those who hate God He deals with them in a completely different fashion. The anger will pass with time. Hatred does not pass with time... it takes repentance.
You are a Christian and you lose your temper. You lashed out at someone or something. Don't beat yourself up. Just continue to walk with God, ask forgiveness from those you hurt and as you grow in His strength you will be better able to handle life's situations. If angry too often or too long... do not be afraid to get some help. Getting help sometimes requires more courage than to do nothing. For those of you who have hate in your heart... and that is the only place it can be... repent.
Father in heaven, please look upon us your children and teach us to know the difference between anger and hate. Teach us to be strong and free. For those Lord who have hate in their heart... lead them to repentance... why should they be lost?
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