“What’s Eating you?” What is the thing that is bugging the daylights out of you? What makes you angry every time you encounter it? What throws you off course and causes you to cuss like a sailor in your head, whether you actually say it or not?
It’s the thing that, as my dad would say, “you about lost your religion over.”
When he said that he was basically saying that situation almost made a person cuss. Dad thought cussing was the worst thing a Christian could do. So if someone was cussing they were getting angry. That helped me buy into the lie that getting angry is not godly.
Most of us think yelling, screaming, waving our hands around, running amuck through a public place, throwing things or acting in any threatening way is not godly at all. As a matter of fact we see that as the furtherest thing from being godly.
What’s Eating Jesus?
That was definitely something Jesus would ever do or was it?
Let’s read and see: “Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, ‘Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!’ John 2:13-16 NKJV
His disciples were probably whispering among themselves, “What’s eating Jesus today?”
Then they remembered a Scripture that put everything into perspective. It said, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up,” (John 14:17 NKJV). So, that’s what was eating Jesus!
It was the fact that those who were supposed to be God-fearing were actually far away from loving and worshiping God. They were making a mockery of His house. It makes most of the things that upset us seem minuscule in comparison. Anger has it place when it fuels a passion to do something about an injustice in the world.
How Do You Deal With Anger?
Unfortunately our anger usually comes out in one of two ways: anger at ourselves or anger at those we love.
The anger at ourselves looks like any number of self-injurious behaviors. My self-injurious behavior of choice was overeating. Yours may be too. However, we are also good at overspending, overindulging in alcohol, prescription drugs or other kinds of drugs, gambling, or really anything that has become a way of escaping from reality.
We have discovered a myriad of ways to harm ourselves because some of just don’t like who we are or who we’ve become. Whatever is churning inside us is eating at us and so we do try to do something to silence it.
When it comes out as anger against those we love most, it tends to look like some or all of these things: yelling, screaming, hitting, controlling, bullying, manipulating, giving the silent treatment or cold shoulder or as the younger crowd says “ghosting” someone and any other number of things we would classify as demeaning if we saw someone else doing it to someone we care about.
When we try so hard not to be angry, we actually make ourselves more angry and that anger will come out in some shape or form. So how do we deal with it appropriately?
Tell the Truth
Paul had some great advice on this topic in Ephesians 4:25-27 MSG. “What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself. Go ahead and be angry.
“You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the devil that kind of foothold in your life.”
There are several great pieces of advice here.
First, Be honest. Speak the truth in love,
Second, Don’t lie to others. It just fuels anger.
Third, don’t let the anger seethe within you, boil over and create a big mess. Do something with it quickly.
Fourth, know that it is alright be angry just direct it constructively.
What’s Eating Me?
I could say nothing eats at me anymore, but that is really not true. There are so many injustices in the world. There’s even the current arguments about to mask or not mask, to have meetings in groups or stay isolated at home.
As important as these are what eats at me the most these days is seeing people who are struggling with issues that are literally eating them alive. Instead of knowing how to deal with them, they run to comfort foods. When they come out of the food coma, this overwhelms them even more when they realize what they’ve done to their bodies.
I have a feeling that I may be talking to someone right now who is in that situation. If so, it hurts my heart to see you feel like you are trapped and have no way out of your anger, your impossible situation or your overwhelming difficulties.
What’s Eating You?
It eats at me to see you not connect to the only One who can help you through whatever you are going through. Instead of being consumed with anger, I’m letting it fuel me to talk about this problem. In my small way I hope that is helping you if you are at the place I was at years ago.
There is hope. There is peace. There is joy. There is love. It is found only in one place. It is found in our God who is ready to receive you, along with all your anger, frustration and screaming fury. He’s not asking you to set that aside. He’s asking you to give it to Him.
Let Him take it and fashion into passion for the things that stir His heart. Let Him equip you to channel the exceptionally strong feelings you have into an outlet for good in His kingdom.
For more on this topic, heck out episode 31 of the podcast HERE.