Thursday, January 26, 2006

Anger is the Greatest Enemy

It is common among all of us to hide our inner life from ourselves and others.

The reality is that we are much more spiritually unclean than we realize. The most common and most deadly spiritual disease we are plagued with is anger. There is a process to go through that is very helpful in bringing our sin to our awareness so that we can properly confess and be cleansed.

The answer is the resentment inventory. This process starts with listing everyone you could ever have possibly had a resentment toward. This is a process of journaling every name that comes to your mind. This excercise is very powerful in bringing to our conscious awareness the fact that we are indeed filled with uncleanness. Inside us is dead man’s bones and ultimately some of us our mouths are closed graves but it always conceals the reality of the uncleanness inside of us. The journaling process is the best method of letting this internal uncleanness to the surface.

During the process, if we are rigorously honest with ourselves, we come to realize that our lives are to a greater extent than we previously realized motivated by anger. So we list all the people first. Then we list all the wrongs that have ever occurred. Then we acknowledge what areas of our lives this effects, our social life, our sexual life, our finances, our self-esteem and emotional life, our confidence, our spiritual life etc. Now we are aware of the reality that we are generally pissed off with the world and most every person we have ever met. We take about two weeks sometimes to be thorough. We keep writing until nothing comes to mind.

We have already received an incredible benefit from this process. We have come to see the reality of our wretchedness. We may in many cases feel justified in our anger but if you are sensitive you are aware that this is no way to live and certainly no way to become spiritually healthy. Now comes the Gospel key…

We return to the list and look at it from a completely different perspective. Here is the key…Here in lies the difference between the Christian approach to life and the more therapeutic methods employed by the secular world. We look at the list and are determined to discover “where was I to blame”. In many cases, we realize that our own self-centeredness has brought this problem upon ourselves. In other cases, is it our own self-centeredness that set us up for being hurt. We have an agenda and the rest of the world does not want to follow our agenda and we are hurt. We are rejected because of our own sinfulness. We are controlling and manipulative and people do not like to be around us. We lie and steal and people do not trust us. We are gossips and people tend to be closed to us. We are know it alls and dominate conversation. We are fearful and needy and become a burden to others. This too is self-centeredness. So the world has rejected us but in reality they are under no obligation to submit to our requests and cater to our self-centeredness.

So we begin in ruthless honesty to see our own character defects. No matter what our personality is we are all plagued by some form of self centeredness that we carry with us. It is this universal character trait that we learn to discover and are preparing ourselves to let God remove from us as He performs a circumcision of our hearts.

When we come to own our part in the matter and turn our gaze to our side of the street that we begin to overcome our anger and begin to find real deliverance from our impulsiveness. Here is how discipleship differs from the therapeutic model. The disiciple is after a cleansing and removal of our own sin. Sin is our problem and we are seeking a spiritual solution of power from the Holy Spirit to deliver us from what truly ails us.

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