This is the eighth in a series of posts beginning with How The Devil Stole Your Soul. We’ve heretofore considered the wiles of the adversary, especially with regards to how he leads you to distort your thinking to such an extent that your sense of self has become misshapen as well.
As a result, many people hold a disfigured picture of themselves up for continual critical examination by themselves and by the voice of their egos, to such a measure as to bring misery upon every facet of their being – despising who they think they are and believing that God does the same. Thus, they hide from Him yet believe it is He who is absent from them.
Because they abandon God’s truths regarding the magnificence in which they were wrought, they see life as a dangerous territory – to be at best warily navigated, or at worst, avoided. These poor souls have distinct characteristics. We’ve looked at the first two: suspended animation and panic; i.e. they are frozen in time (trapped in the past) and are deathly afraid of everything that goes on in and around them…
Characteristic #3: Wrath
One of the ways many people try to defend themselves against this dangerous world of their perception, is to strike out against others with their wrath (to do unto others before they do unto them). What do they hope to gain?
Cease from anger and forsake wrath; do not fret; it leads only to evildoing. Ps. 37:8 NASB
[Before we go there, we must consider that doing so is highly ineffective, because anger in itself (as well as its close cousins: envy and jealousy*) is really just another form of fear. It’s a form of oppression, where one tries to manacle another with their beliefs through intense emotion. This emotional offense is in reality a defense mechanism to intimidate someone into not trying to invalidate the angry one’s tightly held beliefs. And, if you stop to examine the beliefs they are angrily trying to protect, it’s always about some interpretation they made about something in their past.]
*(Envy comes from a fear of being ‘less than,’ believing others to be better than you. Jealousy involves the same, as well as including a fear of abandonment. Anger is the fear of life itself.)
Wrath is cruel, anger is overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy? Pr. 27:4 ESV
For anger slays the foolish man, and jealousy kills the simple. Job. 5:2 NASB
For wherever there is jealousy (envy) and contention (rivalry and selfish ambition), there will also be confusion (unrest, disharmony, rebellion) and all sorts of evil and vile practices. James 3:16 AMP
The angry person is the one who is upset with the way that their life is turning out, (without taking any responsibility for it) projecting their wrath onto anyone whom they perceive is interfering with their survival mechanisms, e.g. someone who stops them from getting what they want (could be themselves), who keeps them from having an expectation fulfilled, or who disrupts their communication.
Anger is a form of ‘closing down’ by ‘striking out.’ It creates walls between the perpetrator and the object of their wrath. It is addictive – feeding upon itself and getting stronger with every outburst.
Anger has its roots in you not liking something (that’s only your preferences talking), wanting life to be different than it is (but allowing your ‘fear of change’ to paralyze you), seeing others as the ‘enemy’ (for not sharing your preferences), protecting against potential rejection (afraid the past will repeat itself), afraid of being ‘found out’ (avoiding the experience of shame or rejection for some misdeed you committed in the past), or you feel that others are trying to control you (especially if you see yourself as a victim of your past).
Wrath is a false relief valve. We explode to take the pressure off of ourselves and to shift our accountability for life onto something or someone else. However, with each use, anger magnifies until it becomes an uncontrollable torrent – so much so that we become afraid to express it (just like most of our emotions) yet it still comes, even if we don’t want it to.
He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who is quick-tempered exalts folly. Pr. 14:29 NASB
Our wrathful tirades drive everyone away (even those whom we want to hold close), leaving us with yet more shame and guilt. Worse, it does nothing to relieve our pain. You see, the danger that comes from indulging in anger is that it grows into violence that you direct both at yourself and others. At this point, how can you ever hope to touch happiness?
Ironically, this is one of the rare times the voice in your head will agree with you as it quips: ‘Didn’t I tell you that you were unhappy? See how horrible life is, how the world is, and what it’s done to you? How can you possibly get anywhere without me?’
What does anger do? It makes you think that you are powerful; but in reality it tears you down with high blood pressure so that you get to have a heart attack or stroke, not to mention ulcers, anxiety and cancer. Anger kills both the host and the target. Everyone around you runs away and you find yourself alone once more.
But that’s only if you continue to persist doing things your way. Far better to live reconnected to God and living your life His way – and that includes getting your coping / communicative skills on board with His:
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Pr. 15:1 NASB
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you. Eph. 4:31, 32. ESV
…everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. James 1:19 NASB
Good sense makes a man restrain his anger, and it is his glory to overlook a transgression or an offense. Pr. 19:11 AMP
…you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love… Neh. 9:17 ESV
You see, God’s answers are always right, as well as the example of His own behavior.
Happiness eludes us because we become comfortable in our own misery. It’s what we know and we’re good at maintaining it. We know we won’t fail.
Moreover, we use unhappiness to justify our self-fulfilled prophecies about life’s disappointments, the perceived lack of fairness, our victim status, our distorted coping strategies, etc.
Without turning back to God, you will exit this life without ever having lived it. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Motivated to shed your old life yet? Just in case your not, (and I’m a bulldog for your salvation) there are still some facets of self-destruction yet to be uncovered…
Goodnight and God bless.