“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger.” Eph 4:31 NIV
Anger is often the product of frustrated expectations. We expect something, and when we don’t get it we end up disappointed and angry. And our anger leads to a dysfunctional personal, spiritual, and relational lifestyle. Frustrated expectations are often rooted in early experiences with our parents, siblings, and authority figures. Perhaps our need for love, acceptance, security, and significance were never met; then later we experienced broken commitments in marriage, business, and friendships. Ultimately, smoldering anger becomes a weapon in our arsenal, threatening to hurt everything and everybody we care about. We become bitter people—avoided, excluded, and lonely. God instructs us to “get rid of all bitterness,” so that “no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many” (Heb 12:15 NIV). How do we obey His command? (1) By accepting and acting on His Word. Without a Scriptural foundation, old emotions will repeatedly undermine your efforts to overcome them. “Get rid of all bitterness” is an order that implies the promise of success when you obey it. (2) By choosing to be released from bitterness. Choice isn’t an emotion, and it doesn’t require an emotional response. God won’t control your emotions, but neither will He let them influence Him. Believing God’s Word and making the choice to obey it always result in success. So start strengthening your will and your faith. How? By choosing to obey God in spite of your feelings! Practice this every day until it becomes a lifestyle. Then instead of being mastered by your moods, you’ll find yourself “reigning in life” (see Ro 5:17), no longer controlled by your negative emotions.
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