Breathe, Royal Ones…this one may be tough. Blame it on my reading Andy Stanley’s book Enemies of the Heart: Breaking Free from the Four Emotions that Control You (2011). It is helping me, so I know it may hit something with you…and maybe inspire more of you to purchase and study.
This is to address those of us who cover or feed our Anger with Guilt and Jealousy. I know, that sounds extremely burdensome, right? Covering (hiding) or Feeding (fueling) our Anger with Guilt and Jealousy. In Andy Stanley’s terms, what this means is
Our “You Owe Me” (anger)
is kept alive by my “I Owe You” (guilt)
and “God Owes Me” (jealousy)
Whew! How? At this point in my reading, the answer is a lack of right confession. This helps me correct my understanding of 1 John 1:9 ––
But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us of every wrong. (NLT)
What Stanley (2011) says is that confession with no action toward change proves we only confess to feel better or feel relief (p. 95). (Ouch, I know!) He paints the picture of relationship and provokes me to more gratitude for God’s love. Many of us, he suggests, will not put up with a person who treats us badly, comes to us daily to confess and receive forgiveness, then continues the bad treatment when they turn their backs, and asks us for favors in between all of this (p. 95).
It is possible to hold debts over others’ heads, but our real anger is because we have a debt owed that we will not confess and/or we are mad with God for “withholding” what we feel we should have. (yeah, read that one again!) We know deep down when confession to God is insufficient, when we need to go to another person and make confession, restitution, and restoration (p. 97). Confession, Stanley says, is connected to change — “it is the beginning of a process that ultimately leads to a change in lifestyle or behavior” (p. 97).
This is to appeal to those of us who are steadfast in our anger, loyal to our guilt and consistent in our jealousy. The Bible says two things about the righteous being planted…
They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season without fail. Their leaves never wither, and in all they do, they prosper. — Psalm 1:3 (NLT)
To all who mourn in Israel, he will give beauty for ashes, joy instead of mourning, praise instead of despair. For the Lord has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for his glory. — Isaiah 61:3 (NLT)
The only resolute, determined, unmovable, unshakable, and planted stance we should take is 1) in the river of the Lord and 2) for His glory. If our fruit bearing is lacking or our leaves withering or we see no flowering of purpose (prospering), then there is an issue with our planting. Likewise, if we take neither beauty nor joy and praise, then our planting is not to God’s glory. Before all can be right, we must confess…for real…with a sincere intent to change and restore.
One more thing…
So if you are standing before the altar in the Temple, offering a sacrifice to God, and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there beside the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God. — Matthew 5:23-24 (NLT)
Get away from that altar — prayer leader, psalmist, preacher, greeter, minstrel, dancer, cook, expediter, announcer, usher, janitor — and leave your gift there. Go to the one you know has an issue with you, and make an effort for the Word’s sake to make things right. Trying to serve around the ought or offense weakens the altar. I know we say bring God our offense, but we just read that if we recall one is offended by us or has something against us….we go to them, not the Lord.
Side Note: Some of us have not been approached for reconciliation because we are (or come across as) consistently agitated with something…so who is to know what is going on with you? People know we will be unhappy with whatever is said or done, so they do not even try. SELAH.
The Point: Don’t stew in who owes you (anger), and don’t let who you owe (guilt) or your view that God owes you (jealousy) keep these debts alive. Don’t boil over with all this gunk in your soul. Don’t let it consume you any longer, or ever! Cancel the debts! Move on. Forget easier said than done, and move toward change. Real, substantive, lasting change.
Please share this one. We all know people (male and female) who can benefit.
Love to all.