Anger & Clarity
Miosis – Lesson 16 of the Overcome Bible Study Lesson on Addiction
One of the more problematic results of anger is that it clouds your vision and blinds you to facts, impeding decision making. But usually, we find this out after the fact. After we cool down we normally realize we shouldn’t have said that. Then you get the honor of having to be on clean-up detail. This is not a fun place to be, and if you frequent it too many times, you’ll find yourself casually purchasing an apartment there in the realm of lost compassion from those you have hurt. This becomes your new living arrangement. And no matter how much you think you can keep the different areas of your life compartmentalized and un-affected from anger, it will eventually spill over, just like every other sin. We think we can hide it when we have to, until it outgrows the closet and bursts into the living room, when you are entertaining in-laws. Learn more about the concepts of anger and clarity in this “Overcome” Bible Study Lesson on Addiction.
You see, there is a strange cathartic stage, if you will, much like the first real moments of sobriety, where the scales have fallen off of your eyes and you begin to see. You begin to see things that you didn’t know were there, you see things that you never paid attention to in the past, mostly yourself and your actions. This nauseating stage can be likened to when you wake up to a bright beam of sunlight that has found its way through the tiniest of cracks in your bedroom window curtains and landed upon your pupil. That instant that your pupil constricts, that slight twinge of pain, squinting and scrunching your face to somehow shut your eyes even tighter to block out the sadistic ray… time to face the day.
The conflict that goes on during this time, when you really begin to see who you are, can be contrasted between darkness; operated by anger, and light; clarity, being who we once were versus who we were made to be. This light may be foreign and initially discomforting, but once you get used to it, it makes going back into the darkness all the more repulsive.
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.John 8:12
Opening a Can of Worms
I opened up a can of worms the first time I taught this specific class when I asked the question “What makes you angry?” Which has led me to including the following disclaimer: It is not up to me or another person to validate or invalidate your anger. All I can do is point you to scripture. I do not have the spiritual discernment to judge the motives or heart of another person, I can’t even judge my own properly.
Chances are that, based on my possibly faulty perspective, I have a 50/50 chance of looking at the situation wrongly to begin with. Then it becomes a heads or tails if I make the right or wrong decision. Why, because I may not have all the correct information and my own personal experience and taste regarding the subject. Which leads us to our next stop in this discussion, righteous anger and our own point of view.
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.Ephesians 4:26
If anger is something you find yourself dealing with, then just as with any other sin, we must make ourselves as aware as possible with our inner self. Often, we find ourselves justifying our anger. There is such a thing as righteous anger, or indignation. While anger is ok and a part of life, we must be especially careful to not chalk up outbursts to righteous anger. The easiest way to do this is asking yourself do you get angry at everything else God gets angry about, or is it only a few select items. What makes you angry, may not make me angry. Likewise, there are a few issues I have a personal history with that have become burdens to me when I see them occur or I am the recipient of such treatment. In other words, I am not necessarily angry with them offending God, but more the fact that I have been offended. God’s word is pretty clear on this point:
Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.Romans 12:17
It’s not a question of do you get angry or if you get angry. It’s more a question of why do you get angry and how do you handle it. Many times, when anger strikes it is in my weakest areas and people are watching me to see how I am going to react. It’s during these opportunities that come at the worst times, a chance for others to see Jesus in me, not the me within me.
The Roaring Lion
Truth be told, there are so many applications and directions we could go with this scripture. So, please hear me, what I teach out of this scripture is not the only thing there. There are other nuggets that can be drawn out such as: adversary, prowling, watchful or even generational. But for the intent of this study, I want to define a few words to tease out a logically implied cost.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.1 Peter 5:8
To devour means by any and all methods necessary, to consume entirely. To eat you up. Anger is typically built up and compounded over many situations and circumstances. It develops as we think about, talk about and get worked up about. We become ticking time bombs when we collect and find it hard to contain during the bottling process, firing passive aggressive warning shots across the bow of those who have offended. Like Chunk so clearly put in the Goonies, “That’s all I can stand, and I can’t stand no more!”
To be sober-minded and watchful is a choice. It is a quality and a description of that choice. It is not a feeling, but rather an intentional call to action, to be alert. Sometimes it is best to walk away from an argument. Sometimes it is actively choosing to starve the anger instead of feeding it. So much of gaining this clarity is from dwelling on scripture itself. Making a choice to apply scriptural guidance rather than scratching the itch of vengeance.
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.James 1:19
Overcome Bible Study Lesson on Addiction – Week 16
Application – Dredging
In a bit of transparency regarding this topic, I allowed many of the wrongs done to me in my younger years to generate feelings of anger and anti-social behavior. This anger resulted in a self-imposed isolation and de-valuing almost every other human I came into contact with. Because of allowing the trauma and anger to devour me, I became a drastically different person than what I imagined God designed me to be originally. Much of how I handled anger resulted in me misunderstanding God and directed misplaced hate towards Him for allowing the rejection, neglect and abuse. Handling anger wrongly cost me years and relationships I will never get back.
The main point is this, if you constantly find yourself erring on the side of anger as the go-to reaction to “unpleasant” things, there is a chance that you are allowing yourself to be devoured, and this isn’t one of those pictures of buzzards sitting on top of a carcass out in the desert, it is a lion with its head buried in the gazelles’ ribcage eating it from the inside out. With anger, everything can change in a moment and it usually does. Below is a graphic of two words imposed on each other. See if you can figure out this visual puzzle:
Anger clouds your vision and your reasoning. Powerful emotions like anger clouds your vision, it blinds you and obscures your vision, like clarity in who Jesus is. We do not want to devour ourselves or others. Know, that whatever the offense, Jesus’ death on the cross paid it. This is especially difficult when it appears that God is not bringing justice to the situation. We are all screwed up, and we are all in debt. We do not want to allow the devil to drive us to want to devour others, any more so than wanting to be devoured ourselves.
The “Overcome” Bible Study Lesson on Addiction is part of the discipleship program at First Contact Ministries in Hendersonville, NC.
Did you miss the other lessons in this series? Click see the entire Overcome Bible Study on Addiction series.
We always look forward to meeting new people at our Tuesday night support group meetings at 6:30 pm, located at Mud Creek Church in Hendersonville, NC. Our classes are designed to teach biblical principles for addiction recovery through discipleship. Our goal is to show the love of Jesus by supporting those who need it most.
For more information or to purchase “The Resistance” by Josh Staton to use as a Christian leadership book, or curriculum for an addiction recovery class, please visit: The Resistance: Becoming A Servant Leader Through the Beatitudes Christian Leadership Book