Ya know, everybody has to “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,” as it says in Philippians 2:12. Also, I suppose this post is conditional on people having a bit of emotional and spiritual maturity, and perhaps some self awareness.
I have to say this however, I don’t think anger is a sin at all. It can certainly lead to sin and it has a pull date like bad left overs do in the fridge, but anger is a wonderful tool and a blessing. I like “be ye angry….but sin not……” Be ye angry is like a commandment, an instruction. Don’t use it to sin, but be ye angry. It’s not always moral to see something unjust or unrighteous and just sit there calm and full of grace, devoid of anger.
As to grudges, well yes, bitterness, wrath, unforgiveness will certainly eat away at your soul. Again, that stuff has a pull date, an expiration code. Also, you shouldn’t hold stoopid grudges. Somebody brought cool whip to a picnic instead of real cream, is a stoopid grudge. Whatever is going on there, it ain’t really about the whip cream. It’s not the grudge itself that’s the problem, it’s the lies, the cover up, the underlying issues the grudge is masking.
Hatred is another powerful feeling that is almost always going to be dangerous, potentially toxic, but even then the Bible tells us to, “hate evil.” Hatred can serve a purpose. I think I could argue that a great deal of what is wrong in our world probably comes from our failure to hate evil. As the saying goes, “Evil thrives when good men do nothing.”
“Be ye angry and hold yer grudges” is not from the Bible, it’s from the pirates, yes pirates. I am now gleaning spiritual wisdom from pirates. Think Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow and it will all make sense. Put a dagger in your teeth and climb the rigging, we’re off to battle.
Seriously though, in Ecclesiastes 3 the Bible tells us, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven, a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot…..”
I mention all this today because a lot of people are dealing with some really challenging stuff right now out in the world that is just maddening, that causes some ugly feelings, and on top of all that also being burdened by false guilt, false shame, and (sometimes) well intentioned Christianese about forgiveness and grace. How do I know it’s false?? Well, because I can just hear the enemy of our souls yapping it out like a rabid chihuahua. He is the father of all lies, so what he tries to say is always going to be false.
You do NOT have to levitate 3 feet off the ground in a state of perpetual grace and joy, and especially not when somebody has their foot on your neck. Also, 9 times out of ten the one telling you you should be more forgiving, more tolerant, more Christian, is going to be the very same one with his foot on your neck in the first place.
This is why we have the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us. Each situation is different, different personalities, different circumstances, all call for different responses. All I know for sure is that God does not yap at us, He does not shame and guilt trip us, and He does not engage in passive/aggressive manipulation the way people do.