“Are you sure you’re not mad?”
“I said, I’m fine.”
We’ve all been there, whether on one side of the conversation or the other. Honestly, we’ve all probably been on both sides at least once in our lives—as we discussed yesterday, everyone gets angry. So why is it so hard to admit when we’re mad?
Confessing sins is never easy, and anger (the unhealthy kind) is no exception. But the first step to solving any problem is admitting the problem exists. As it says in James 5:16, we must “confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” Confessing the sin of anger can help us heal the broken relationship between us and whoever we’re upset with, but even if nothing needs mended, or the other person isn’t interested in mending things, confessing still heals us as individuals. We gain nothing by holding a grudge.
So, who should you confess your anger (the unhealthy kind) to? First and foremost, you must confess your sin to yourself. Those of you who already know you’re angry may roll your eyes at that, but there are also those who haven’t yet accepted they’re angry. Even if you know you’re angry, you might not think you’re doing anything wrong—we’ll talk about that tomorrow. For now, search your heart. Have you been holding onto anger against someone without admitting it? Have you knowingly held onto your anger, but refuse to confess it as a sin?
Once you’ve admitted your anger to yourself, you need to confess it to at least two others: God and another person. You must pray to God, admitting and repenting of your anger. Sometimes it helps to confess your anger to a friend who is removed from the situation. James 5:16 also says, “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” If you’re having difficulties getting past your anger, find a person whose faith and wisdom you respect and explain the situation. But be careful you don’t succumb to gossiping when explaining your anger—this is about dealing with the plank in your own eye, not the speck in someone else’s. Then ask this person to pray with you, asking God for forgiveness if you haven’t already, and for help in resolving your anger.
You might also feel the need to discuss the reasons for your anger with the offending party. If so, you should also apologize to the person for your anger. Remember, apologizing for being angry with someone doesn’t condone their actions, just as forgiving them for their behavior doesn’t mean it was acceptable. Still, because Jesus calls us to lead lives of love, we must apologize and forgive. If it helps, you can ask the friend you prayed with to help mediate between you and the offending party. Whether you decide to discuss it with a mediator or privately, always remember to do so with love.
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.
Heavenly Father, please give us the wisdom to recognize when we sin through anger, and give us the humility to confess our sins. Thank you for your forgiveness, freely offered. If our anger has caused a rift between us and others, help us to mend it. Above all, help us to love others as you love us. Amen.
This post was written by Payton Lechner, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study.
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