The moment I begin to hate a man, I become his slave. He controls my thoughts. He controls my feelings. He even controls my dreams. Stress hormones constantly surge through my bloodstream and wear down my body. My work becomes drudgery. I tire easily. My windowed office seems like a cell in Alcatraz. Even while sailing the Chesapeake Bay, resentment ruins my relaxation. The spinnaker may be billowing in the breeze, but I might as well be a sea-sick galley slave.
The one I hate hounds me wherever I go. I can’t escape his mental tyranny. The waiter at the sea side restaurant may be serving up a blackened swordfish or a chocolate mousse, but I feel like a dungeon prisoner eating stale bread and musty water. My teeth chew the food, but the one I hate has stolen my pleasure. King Solomon must have had a similar experience, for he wrote, “Better a simple salad with love, than a sumptuous feast with hostility.” Proverbs 15:17
The man I hate may be soundly snoring many miles from my bedroom: but more cruel than any slave driver, he whips my thoughts into a frenzy. My Perfect Sleeper mattress becomes a rack of torture. I am, indeed, a slave to everyone I hate.
Early in my ministry, I was blessed to find a book by S.I. McMillen M.D.
None of These Diseases. The first edition of this book, published by Fleming H. Revell, made a profound impact on my life and has kept me from the negative emotions that could have ruined my health. The book, which has sold over 1 million copies, has gone through three editions with new material added for this generation. The above excerpt was worth the price of the book for me. Sorry, the later editions of this book deleted this valuable chapter on the dangers of hating and holding a grudge.
A BIBLICAL STUDY OF ANGER AND WRATH
Anger, wrath and hatred in themselves are not sinful.
God is angry with the wicked every day. Psalm 7:11
Sinners who reject the Gospel abide under the wrath of God NOW!
John 3:36 At death they will eternlly experience His wrath in hell.
We can hate sin, Satan, his false teachers who pervert the Gospel and lead people into sin, and his sinful world system, including the sinful entertainment system, that draws us and those we love away from God.
We can hate all of this with a perfect hatred and we can count all those servants of Satan as our own personal enemies. Psalm 139:19-22
At the same time, we need to ask God to search our hearts and our thoughts and expose our meanness and vengefulness and anything hidden there that is displeasing to Him.Psalm 139:23-24.
In Ephesians 4:26-32 we learn more about anger.
1. God gives us as Christians permission to be angry 4:26
Anger is going to rise up in our hearts at time just because we are human.
2. But when we feel anger rising up, we are not to give in to our angry feelings and sin by exploding in wrath and harming others with unkind words and actions. James 1:19-20 Rather, we are to allow His Holy Spirit to control our feelings and our words and actions, so that we edify them and minister God’s grace to them. Eph. 4:29
3. When we do give in to our angry feelings and explode in wrath hurting others, we are to immediately confess it as sin to God and admit we were wrong to those we have offended and do what we can to make it right with them.
4. Nothing should come out of our mouths except that which edifies and ministers grace to our hearers. Eph. 4:29
5. Never should we go to bed at night without being right with God, with our spouse, with our children and with anyone with whom we’ve been angry during the day. Eph. 4:26 In almost sixty years of marriage, my wife and I have NEVER gone to bed angry. I have always taken the initiative to confess my wrong and make things right and she has always responded with forgiveness and love.
Once, years ago, I heard from another that a certain deacon, a dairy farmer, was angry with me. I immediatetly drove to his house and found him out in his field working. As I approached him, I saw he was furious with me. We talked things out and went away as friends and brothers in the Lord.
The fear of offending God is a wonderful motivation for me to run from sin and to stay sheltered in the secret place of the Most High.
God has used that through the years as a warning to turn from wrath:
1. because my sin offends God and breaks my fellowship with Him,
2. because my sin breaks my fellowship with others
3. because my sin is going to affect my health and well being.