When I’m shopping for produce at the grocery store, I look for golden netting on ripe cantaloupes, sniff the navels of fresh oranges, and gently squeeze avocados to test for ripeness. I use all of my senses to choose the best produce for my family.
Tree #1: Fruit of the Spirit
Our attitudes are very similar. We can tell if there’s unresolved hidden anger in our lives by examining the fruit. For instance, when we’re at peace with God and the world, we're like a healthy tree producing the fragrant
Fruit of the Spirit. We exhibit:
• good works
• servant’s heart
• love of the Bible
• love of truth
• strong faith
Identifying Our Anger
Conversely, if there’s unresolved hidden anger in our lives, the "deeds of the flesh" will be evident. Like two species of fruit trees, there are two types of anger which yield different kinds of attitudes and behavior: expressed anger and suppressed anger.
Tree # 2: Expressed Anger
• critical spirit
• child abuse
• back biting
• sexual abuse
• high blood pressure
Tree # 3: Suppressed Anger
• suicidal thoughts
• drug abuse
• sexual dysfunction
• eating disorders
• memory blanks
(I’m indebted to Don & Katie Fortune at Heart to Heart International Ministries and their "Dealing With Anger" counseling materials for the information above.)
How to Deal With Our Anger
The Bible teaches that as human beings we all sin. The good news is that as believers in Jesus Christ, we are forgiven and accepted by God.
Unfortunately, as human beings we are also sinned against. Scripture commands us to forgive those who have harmed us, just as God has graciously forgiven us.
Most of us know that forgiveness is very difficult. True forgiveness for deep injuries always involves grief and mourning. However, with the help of a supportive counselor or friend, it is possible to move through the process and find healing.
For instance, after openly acknowledging the offense, we can then choose to suffer and feel the injury. As we allow the painful emotions to wash over us, in time we release our anger, and we experience forgiveness toward our offender(s). (See Matt 5:4)
Related: Spiritual Growth: The Forgiving Self
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
(Matt 16:14-15 NIV)
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Which of the 3 trees are you feeling most like today?
Photos: zesmerelda, cobalt123, preecoford, cobalt123, emdot (Flickr)