In your anger, do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.Ephesians 4:26
I find myself holding onto anger more often than I care to admit. Everyone gets irritated and upset from time to time, but unfortunately, I dwell on those negative emotions for longer than I should. When someone upsets me, it’s hard for me to thinking about it. Although I might not show it, I hold onto my anger and sometimes I let it consume me. Sometimes I grow angry or impatient with someone for no reason, or I get cynical or jealous of someone over the littlest thing. I eventually come to my senses, turning to God in prayer and asking him to soften my heart. This always helps and brings me peace, but I wish I never allowed my heart to be so hard in the first place.
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When I’m trying to let go of my anger, I think of this analogy: Holding onto anger is like holding a hot coal. They longer you hold onto it, the more you get burned. You might hold that coal wishing someone else would get hurt or feel the pain, but you only burn yourself. Being angry does so much damage to our spirits. When we let our hearts harden with anger, we grow bitter as we allow ourselves to retreat into the darkness. In this state, it’s easy to turn away from God, give into temptation, and sin. Because we’re human, it’s okay to feel angry, but we cannot let our anger consume us. We have to be careful to not let our anger harden our hearts and lead us to sin.
Especially during Advent, we strive to exit the darkness and turn towards the light of Jesus Christ. We actively prepare our hearts with excitement for Christ’s coming. Part of this involves foregoing what causes us to turn away from Christ. As we prepare our hearts for Christ, we let go of what leads us into darkness so that we can stay in his light.
If you’re like me and you struggle to let go of your anger, you’re not alone. Join me in praying for softer hearts so that we can forget when we forgive. I ask our Heavenly Father to help us be more optimistic and forget our negativity. With a little more patience and kindness, we can forget about the mistakes and shortcomings of ourselves and others and reflect on the good. If we can let go of our anger quickly, before the sun goes down, we can avoid sin while keep our hearts soft and growing in love for God and for our brothers and sisters in Christ.
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