The AMI QT Devotionals for November 18-19 (new) are provided by Tina Hsu of Church of Southland in Anaheim, California. Tina (M.Div.), who was recently licensed by AMI, is a co-leader of college ministry at the church.
Devotional Thought for Today
“Inviting God to Help Us Overcome Anger”
Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.
For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime.
As our social media notifications alert us to check our account for the latest message, the negative emotions we feel are internal “alerts” for us to look inward, and to identify our honest emotions. This morning let’s look at how Scripture invites us to navigate the emotion of anger and may it propel us to be renewed with joy and freedom.
David’s description of God in Psalm 30:4 depicts for us a godly model of handling anger. In the Old Testament, God’s anger is expressed towards the Israelites when they relied on a god for security, instead of on Him. Even though no one compares to their God, who had split the Red Sea by His mighty hand to deliver them from slavery, the Israelites often struggled with unbelief and chose to trust in the golden calf or the gods of other nations. In these situations of being forsaken, God, in His indignation, would turn His face away from Israel (Is. 45:15); that is, He would temporarily distance Himself from her and the event that brought Him displeasure. This wasn’t to reject Israel, but to show how a holy God hated sin in all its forms (e.g., Is. 1:14, 61:8; Mal. 2:16). But His righteous anger was always temporary, meaning He would turn to gather the Israelites with His mercy and look upon them with covenant faithfulness and love. Again, note that God didn’t suppress, avoid, or deny His righteous anger when the Israelites worshipped the golden calf. Humanly speaking, He felt His anger and expressed it; yet He always chose to continue being the compassionate God of Israel.
While anger is a valid emotion, it is meant to be temporary. When it remains unresolved or permanent, we become vulnerable to doing hurtful and sinful actions, such as rage, bitterness, and unforgiveness. These give our Enemy a platform to attack us and to lead us down deeper cycles of unhealthy expressions of anger. For this reason, Paul exhorts his readers to “be angry, and yet do not sin.” He is not commanding us to be angry but in the situation in which we are angry, we shouldn’t let a long-time pass with the anger unresolved, and thereby, sin.” In the temporary stage of anger—when we are the recipient of it—we need the Holy Spirit’s help to separate the action, words, and behavior from the angry person, and through forgiveness, choose to love and embrace the person again.
As we start a new week, we have an opportunity to go to the Lord and journey with Him for healing from a past wound and to gain strength to forgive the person whom we may have been holding an offense against. Spend some time in prayer and confession this morning and invite the Lord to be your help and your strength.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I begin this new week with an open and teachable heart. Give me strength and humility to identify any unresolved anger or unforgiveness. I ask for your strength to help me to overcome my anger in the power of your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 33
Lunch Break Study
Read Matthew 5:21-26. “You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. 23 Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. 25 Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I say to you, you will not come out of there until you have paid up the last cent.
Questions to Consider
- What teaching is Jesus referring to in Mt. 5:21? What issue is Jesus addressing that is considered liable before the court?
- Under what circumstances are disciples of Jesus called to approach their brother (or sister) to be reconciled?
- What is the heart of Jesus’ message? Why do you think He elevates the significance of reconciliation and highlights this issue of anger?
- Jesus is referring to the Ten Commandments in the OT, of which one of them is “You shall not commit murder” (Exodus 20:13). While murder is a violation against God’s commandment, Jesus teaches we are also accountable to God when we have anger towards a brother (or sister).
- When we are preparing to offer our worship to God, but know that someone has an offense against us, we are to first go and be reconciled before giving God what we prepared for worship.
- Personal Response.
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13).
This evening reflect upon how you have tasted and experienced God’s forgiveness and grace in your life recently. May His love strengthen you to be committed to bear with others with love and to forgive them.