Have you ever heard someone utter those words in anger? I’ve also heard the expression, “I’m so mad I could spit!” Everyone gets angry; sometimes it’s justified anger, like witnessing a wrong done to someone, but at other times, it’s just plain old anger that explodes within us for any number of frustrating reasons.
The Apostle Paul gave an important instruction concerning anger in Ephesians 4:26-27, “Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.” No doubt, we all agree with that, but how do we achieve it when someone does something that really makes our blood boil? This is where I tell you — I had a dream.
It was a literal dream in my sleep and it came to me this week. When I awoke and lay in bed the following morning, I thought about the dream and asked the Lord what it meant and why was it so vivid? The phrase — the world’s anger — came to me.
The world is indeed angry these days. Political parties are at war with each other. Crime rates of shootings, knifings, and other assaults are on the rise. Work colleagues climb all over each other to get to the top. Ethics is out the window; it’s everyone for themselves. Distrust is rampant. Differences of opinion spur on verbal attacks. There is a definite fading of mutual respect to those who are dissimilar. Nations make promises among themselves and then engage in trickery and lies to get the upper hand. Reverence toward God has faded, and His followers are falsely accused as unfairly judging and unloving, just because they love Jesus and His teachings. Kindness to a large degree has gone out the window as anger grows and tensions mount.
In my dream I saw someone who was angry with another person. Suddenly that angry person was standing next to the cross where Jesus was hanging in misery as He paid for the world’s sin. In front of the cross was the very one, with whom the person standing next to Jesus, was angry. Suddenly the angry person was overcome with a sense of love that surpassed anger because he saw the other person as someone Jesus loved very much.
As I lay contemplating the dream further, I knew this was a key to relieving anger in our lives. The next time you are angry with someone (people you may personally know, or people you will never meet – like politicians who make you angry) picture them standing at the foot of the cross. Picture Jesus loving that person. Picture Jesus dying in that person’s place. Picture the heart of God longing for that person to choose Jesus and His eternal Kingdom. Then pray for that person, asking the Holy Spirit to fill you with holy compassion toward even the most hateful and unlovely.
When we learn to see and react to one another in the love of Jesus, our anger fades. We can still acknowledge the wrong done and we can take appropriate action, but our hearts need not be controlled by anger. When we pray for someone to know and consider the love of Jesus, that anger is replaced with a longing for that person to be in heaven forever and ever, where there is no more death, sorrow, tears — or anger.
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