Anger in itself isn’t necessarily a problem. Anger is simply a reaction to a situation; it’s an emotion, and emotions aren’t bad. God didn’t create us to be like robots; He created us with a full range of emotions. It’s what we do with our anger that counts, because it has the potential to be destructive.

Resentment is another matter. Resentment is a choice. Resentment lingers. Resentment says, “I’m going to make these people pay for what they did to me.” Resentment is a lot more deep rooted than the emotion of anger. 

So how does anger turn into resentment?

The answer is found in Ephesians 4:26-27.

“In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”

So, it’s a normal human reaction to feel angry sometimes, but it becomes a problem when you let it rumble on day after day, and it takes a foothold in your life. The key to all this is in dealing with anger as soon as it comes up. When anger, or even rage, rises up in you, and you can’t quickly get past it, when it feels out of proportion to the event that you are reacting to, you can ask the Holy Spirit questions:

“Where did that come from?”

“What is the trigger? What is the root of my reaction?”

If you are having an extreme reaction to something, the chances are that the root is in a previous negative experience or trauma, perhaps even from very early in your life. 

When you learn what the root is, you can deal with it through the cross of Jesus Christ. The cross can bring it to closure. There are times when the triggers, the memories are so old, or so deeply buried, that we can’t remember them. But God knows. And He is able and willing to heal and bring closure, even if our pain is not attached to any clear memories, and is just expressed in tears and heart cries. Often the Holy Spirit will bring to mind just enough detail of the old feeling or memory, so that we are able to deal with it – if we ask Him. 

You can’t easily change a powerful emotion, when that emotion is being triggered by a choice that you made in your past. The emotion hasn’t come out of your mind, but out of a heart decision. It’s like a battle within your own soul. Your mind is trying to overcome your heart, but it doesn’t work like that. You are trying to tell your mind to believe something, while your heart is screaming out the opposite – and possibly your body is also screaming in pain, because a lack of emotional healing can sometimes manifest in physical sickness too. What you need to do is receive healing into your heart – and then get your mind changed and renewed.  

When you experience a trauma, certain thought patterns emerge out of that. The human will can be powerful. In reaction to pain, we can make some “never again” choices. For instance, “I will never trust a man / woman again.” These can become bitter root judgements, which end up being destructive in our lives, and we need to bring them to the cross to be dealt with. 

Getting healed isn’t as simple as saying, “I need to change my mind.” That’s mind over matter, positive thinking, which has limited power to deal with deep soul wounds. However, when your heart is healed, you then have the power to change and renew your mind, because your heart is in it.

Some of us can even become legalistic in our approach to renewing our minds in Christ, by feeling that we must make confessions of faith and truth every day, clinging with desperation to these things, in the hope that we will change.

Please don’t think we are saying here that speaking out confessions and declarations of God’s truth in the scriptures is a bad thing to do. It is an excellent thing to do! What we are talking about here is doing this as our only method of getting free, when we actually need healing in our heart first and foremost, so that the desire of our heart becomes aligned with the desire of our mind. 

What you have to do is work through all those thoughts and feelings and hurts and memories that have triggered your anger and resentment, and bring them all to the cross. You can ask Holy Spirit to help. One of His names is the Helper.

Then make a choice to forgive everyone you need to forgive, including yourself.

You can renounce the negative effects of your anger and resentment, including any bitterness, judgements you have made, and negative vows or thought patterns.

You bring it to the cross and choose to change your thinking.

Then receive from God His comfort and His healing within the memory, and ask Him to bring it to closure.

You can do this on your own, and / or with someone who you know to be trustworthy in healing prayer ministry. 

Once we have received heart healing, renewing the mind by meditating upon and declaring scripture, and confessing God’s truths is very useful to help us keep our healing. Immediately after getting a breakthrough and receiving healing through the cross of Jesus Christ, it is common for the enemy to attack us and whisper in our ear that we aren’t really healed. This is a very good time to resist the enemy by declaring God’s truth, as an act of faith, whether we feel it or not. 

What happened through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross is a legal transaction, a divine exchange. When we truly surrender our sin, our sickness and our emotional hurts to Jesus at the cross, He gives us forgiveness, healing and wholeness in exchange. With deep trauma, this can be a process, but Jesus is willing to heal if you are willing to come to Him and surrender to Him those things you have been holding onto. 

If we want to stay free, we have a choice: We can either live our lives out of a reflection of our broken past, or out of a revelation of our glorious future. 

– Alaric and Jane 

(Photo by Morgan Basham, courtesy of Unsplash)


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