Tag Archives: revenge

Memory and Anger

Why did Paul say in Ephesians 4:26: In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,…”

Studies of memory indicate that memory changes over time. Memory does not include all of the details of a given situation. The emotional state of the body helps determine what is remembered. If the person experiences anger or a negative attitude, then the details they remembered will tend to be negative. On the other hand if the person experiences positive feelings, the memory will tend to recall the positive details of the experience.

In just a short period of time, the details that are in memory begin to change. If people hear of similar situation or are exposed to other accounts of the same incident, part of their details will be added to your memory, embellishing your idea of what happened.

The mood that you are in when you recall the memory will also determine what details you pull from your memory later. If you are in a negative mood, you tend to recall negative details. Once the details are stored in the memory, it is difficult to correct the memory because the owner of the details is determined that the details are still accurate.

When we become angry about an event, we tend to seek out people who have experience the same event or a similar event. It seems this is especially true if the event happened in a church and you hear other church people talk. In other words, we want to talk to people who are on ‘our side’. As we listen to their situation, we have a tendency to adopt parts of the other persons experience and it becomes part of our memory and our anger about the situation becomes even stronger.

In addition, the mood of the person asking about the situation, will also determine how the memory responds. If a questions is asked of you about the situation indicate the person is on “your side” or if the person is on “their side”. In other words you can recall the memory asked on what you think the other person wants and how it will best serve you.

Memory over time becomes inaccurate!

In my recent study about memory, I was reminded of the following experiment regarding memory. The article is titled “How Flawed Memories Can Sabotage Your Marriage” by Jason Whiting, downloaded January 28, 2017 from http://family-studies.org/how-flawed-memories-can-sabotage-your-marriage/
 
Professor Ulrick Neisser did an impromptu experiment after the space shuttle Challenger exploded in 1986. The day after the disaster, he asked his class of 106 students to write down where they were when they heard about it. Three years later he asked these students the same thing. Over 90 percent of the accounts changed, and about half of them were inaccurate in at least two-thirds of the details. The revised memories had supplanted the earlier, more accurate ones, but the new ones still felt true. One student was shown her first description, written three years earlier, and said, “I know that’s my handwriting, but I couldn’t possibly have written that.”

The longer you harbor anger, the more inaccurate the memories become and the intensity of our anger also increases. This is why you have to take care of anger before sunset. You need to take care of it while your memories are still accurate and while we can still control your anger.

Revenge affects our memories

In addition to our memories becoming inaccurate, we also have the revenge factor to deal with. As we think through the event that has caused us to get angry, we think about things we can do to get even. We want revenge! “If I have to suffer for this then I will give you something to suffer for.”

Just the act of vengeance is sinful. Romans 12:9 reads: Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord. The speaker in this passage was quoting from Deuteronomy 32, verses 34-35 where God says:

“Have I not kept this in reserve  and sealed it in my vaults? It is mine to avenge; I will repay.  In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them.” Deuteronomy 32:34-25(NIV)

Not only will God take vengeance, but he can do a better job than we can. At the right time, God will cause ‘their foot to slip’ and their day of disaster happens.

Why does the anger start in the first place?

Anger usually begins when we think we need to know why something that affects your life has happened. We have difficulty finding out the details about the incident because of a policy or a legal liability. However, I have found that even if we knew the cause, we may still get angry. The real cause of the anger is usually selfishness. We want things to happen our way. We do not want to wait for God to show us His ways.

Here are some steps for overcoming anger:

  1. Humbly search your own heart and seek God’s wisdom.
  • Why is this happening to me?
  • Is this happening because of something I have done?
  • What is God trying to teach me through this experience?
  1. Seek forgiveness from God for any wrong that you have done to cause the experience.

“AND WHENEVER YOU STAND PRAYING, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” Mark 11:25(NIV)

  1. Seek forgiveness from the person(s) who have caused the experience that makes you become angry.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:12-14(NIV)

NOTE: Forgiveness does not mean you forget. Forgiveness means that you refuse to bring up the offense again. In other words, “The case is closed”. We surrender our right to use that offense against that person again.

  1. Love the person who offended you.

 

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:43-48

 

All Scripture has been downloaded from http://Biblegateway.com

Reasons You Cannot Forgive

When a parent, a spouse, a child, a co-worker, or a fellow Christian does something that is contrary to what the Bible teaches, they need to be forgiven. Our ability to forgive demonstrates love for the person we are forgiving, just as God’s forgiveness demonstrates His love for us.

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:9-12(NIV)

The real reason(s) you cannot forgive:

  1. You choose not to forgive
  2. You will not be able to throw it back in their face every time you want to participate in your sin of preference.
  3. You need the divorce, or difficult relationship to look like it was their fault
  4. People may perceive you as being weak
  5. You have a great way to get revenge
  6. You may have to help them deal with their sin or addiction
  7. You can no longer use their sin to control them?
  8. You can no longer make them squirm by reminding them of their faults
  9. You want to control their remorse rather than letting the Holy Spirit convict them
  10. Your gossip may not be as juicy as that of your friends.
  11. They do not deserve to be forgiven
  12. You will not have a good reason to have a “pity party”

In Acts 8:9-25, Paul tells of the event that occurred in Samaria, where Simon the Sorcerer had been practicing sorcery in the city. He had been boasting about how great he was. But when he saw Philip proclaiming the good news about Jesus Christ, he began to listen to Philip as did many of the people; they believed the good news and were baptized. Simon the Sorcerer then began following Philip.

God sent Peter and John to Samaria where Philip had been proclaiming the good news. When Peter and John got to Samaria, they asked the people if they had received the Holy Spirit. The people said that they had only been baptized. So Peter and John laid their hands on the people and they received the Holy Spirit.

When Simon the Sorcerer saw what happened, he wanted the same power Peter and John had so he could benefit from laying his hands on people. Peter replied:

“May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.” Acts 8:20-23(NIV)

When we as Christians fail to forgive, we are actually using God’s forgiveness for our benefit. When we hang onto the sin that someone has committed against us, we become full of bitterness and captive to sin”.

When you accepted Christ as your Savior, God gave you the Holy Spirit to become your source of power to forgive others. God wants you to allow the power of the Holy Spirit to forgive those who sin against us. When we fail to trust the Holy Spirit to forgive, we are in essence saying God is not strong enough to forgive the sin committed against you. As a result, we will become bitter and yield to sin’s temptations.

Both Matthew and Mark record Jesus as saying:

And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. Matthew 12:31-32(NIV)

When Jesus gave the disciples the model prayer he included forgiveness of others. (Matthew 6:9-13) At the end of the model prayer, Jesus gave these instructions to His followers:

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15(NIV)

Forgiving a person who has sinned against you, is not an option, it is a requirement! There are several different scripture references that indicate the importance of forgiving others.

James 5:15-16(NIV)

And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

2 Corinthians 2:10-11(NIV)

Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.  

Colossians 3:12-14(NIV)

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Often when someone sins against us, we want to take revenge. We frequently want them to pay for what they have done to us; we are determined to ‘even the score’. However, we are actually instructed not to take revenges.

 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”        Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12:17-21(NIV)

NOTE: All scripture in this blog was downloaded from www.Biblegateway.com

What Does Eternity Hold for You?

One of my favorite Easter songs is “They Could Not”. This song was written and sung by Sandi Patty in 1982. This song summarizes Jesus ministry on this earth. People just did not understand who Jesus was or what he was up to.

Since they could not understand Jesus, they decided to kill him. They tortured him hoping they could find out who he was. Even though God allowed Jesus to suffer, He did not allow the people to interfere with God’s plan for salvation. They could not keep Jesus in the grave.

In the last stanza of “They Could Not”, Sandy Patty says:

They could not, They could not….Praise God, they could not ….And when at last they took from Him what willingly He gave…. Could they keep Him in the grave, could they keep Him in the grave, ….Could they keep Him in the grave, They could not!

Jesus was raised to life! They could not stop him!

God allowed Jesus to be tortured by the people, just as God allowed Job to be physically tortured by Satan. As I thought about this truth, I was reminded of Romans 12:19(NIV) where it records the words of the Lord: Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

God gets the final word. He is the one who is ultimately in charge. He is the one who will take revenge.  In Revelation 20 the writer is telling about the judgment of Satan after he had been in prison for a thousand years.

When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. 10 And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. Revelation 20:7-10(NIV)

Talk about revenge! Jesus was tormented for a short period but Satan and his followers will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

When we come to the end of our physical life, our spirit continues to exist. We have two options. We will live (have fellowship with the Lord) forever, or we will die (have no fellowship with the Lord and be tormented) forever! Just as Christians live forever with God, the false teachers and followers of Satan will be tormented forever.

The people could not prevent Jesus from being raised from the dead, and they will not be able to stop the tormenting!

We have a choice. We can accept Jesus for who he is and follow His leading, or we can continue being deceived by Satan and follow his leading. These are your options. What option are you going to choose? The choice is yours. However, the choice you make must be made before you die. Once your body dies, it is too late to change your mind.

The default choice is eternal torment.

This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:22-24(NIV)

The only way we can have eternal life is by accepting the redemption that Jesus has to offer. By faith in Jesus Christ you can accept redemption that leads to eternal life.

What will your choice be?

 

NOTE:  All scripture quoted in this blog was downloaded from: www.biblegateway.com