Answering Anger With Forgiveness

Psalm 118:5-8

5From my distress I called upon the Lord;

The Lord answered me and set me in a large place.

6 The Lord is for me; I will not fear;

What can man do to me?

7 The Lord is for me among those who help me;

Therefore I will look with satisfaction on those who hate me.

8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. 

How often in times of distress have you looked to God for relief and protection from those who slander and despise you? Do you look to God and seek peace and forgiveness or do you plot revenge? Do you have the faith to trust the promise that if God is for you, you need not be afraid? Sometimes, in order for us to learn how to fully trust God, we are put in these difficult and trying situations, so that we can experience God’s peace, and learn to trust Him more completely. When we respond to hate filled words with grace and words of peace, we can be certain that God’s Holy Spirit is with us, helping us to respond with forgiveness.

This week, I have been reminded that I cannot worry, or dwell upon other people’s long standing anger and resentment. When people allow themselves to be consumed with hate and bitterness, it can be difficult to reason with them or carry on a rational conversation with them. They believe what they believe and it seems that you can’t convince them otherwise. I can’t begin to imagine how it feels to live day in and day out with this type of anger, which over a period of time will utterly consume your very soul.

Jesus said, “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me” (Matthew 5:11). When I face insults, and deceitful words are spoken against me, I cling to this promise from my Lord and Savior – and proclaim that I am truly “blessed.”

With Christ as my Lord and Savior, those insults and falsely spoken words do not affect me – instead, I feel truly “blessed.” With Christ as my Lord and Savior, I pray for those who proudly identify themselves as my enemies – I forgive them and then I move on – because I am truly “blessed.”   

Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:43-45).

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