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"The entrance of thy words giveth light (Psalm 119:130)."

Getting Rid of Anger (Part 3)

"You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, 'Raca,' is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell."

"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift."

"Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny." {Matthew 5:21-26 NIV}

I once counseled a family where there was a lot of ongoing tension between the father and his teenage daughter. The teenage daughter had, in the past, run away and the father was still seething mad. He couldn't break free of his anger.

I was seeing the family as a secular counselor employed by a social service agency. I could not use the Bible. But the biblical principle of being reconciled came to mind.

I talked to the 16-year-old girl individually and explained that her father was still very angry about her running away. I suggested that she apologize to her father and she agreed to do so.

Her decision to apologize had an immediate positive impact on her relationship with her father. It was an emotional scene with the father saying "That's all you ever had to do." The relationship was restored. The last thing I remember was the girl smiling while riding away with her father in a pickup truck.

When dealing with family situations, 'forgive and forget' doesn't generally work that well. There is a need to be reconciled, to make peace with the person who is angry at you.

Abstaining from all contact with a family member is inconsistent with reconciliation. It is aggressive and feeds unforgiveness. Once the issue has been dealt with, simple occasional friendly e-mails can go a long way toward healing damaged emotions—especially yours.

If you don't become reconciled, you can experience severe emotional suffering metaphorically referred to as the 'fire of hell." This is what happens when you're stuck in unforgiveness.

The need to reconcile is not limited to family situations. It has general application. Pray and seek wise counsel if you're not sure how to handle a situation.

"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift."

Take care of the situation as soon as possible.

Go to Part 4.

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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com.

The "NIV" and "New International Version" are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

Scripture quotations marked "NKJV™" are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation.
Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org).

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.