In this series, I’ll show you, in a very practical way, how to stop reacting in anger and start responding in meekness to the people and circumstances that irritate you. You will be able to overcome anger as you identify your sin, yield to God and pursue meekness.
Are you set in your ways and highly opinionated? Do you like to do things your way—because that’s the “right way”?
Are you a people pleaser? Do you covet the respect and approval of others?
Do you feel hurt when others don’t acknowledge your accomplishments and praise you? Do you resent criticism?
Do you demand the love and attention of others?
Do you feel inadequate or question God’s willingness to help you?
Is your time more important that anyone else’s? Do you frequently feel like people are imposing on your time?
Does your security lie in your possessions?
Are you a perfectionist? Do you require perfection of others?
Do your problems and needs consume you? Are you unwilling to put other’s needs ahead of your own?
Do you think of yourself as better or more valuable than others?
Do you expect life to be fair?
· In what areas am I refusing to trust God?
· How can I overlook offenses, forgive injuries and return good for evil?
Meekness is trusting God to take care of your life, your desires, your possessions, and your rights. We know God will do these things because Jesus said the meek will inherit the earth, which means they will inherit God’s reign over their circumstances (Matthew 5:5).
FOR FURTHER STUDY
Want to know what meekness looks like? Check out these passages:
Isaiah 42:2-4; 53:7
Matthew 12:19-20; 26:52-53
1 Peter 2:21-23; 3:8-15
We learn meekness from Jesus. “Take My yoke upon you, and learn from me,” Jesus tells us, “for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls.”
The meekness of Jesus gave Him the power to bear injuries, forgive injuries, and return good for evil. Think of these responses as alternatives to anger. Then apply them to the circumstances in your life.
In Psalm 38:12-15, David tells us that certain people are trying to destroy him. Sound familiar? Has a co-worker ever tried to discredit you or turn other people against you? Then you know how David felt. No doubt he was tempted to strike back, but he chose to behave differently.
“But I, like a deaf man, do not hear,” David wrote. “I am like a dumb man who does not open his mouth…For I hope in Thee, O Lord; Thou wilt answer, O Lord my God.”
He simply ignored every insult and kept his mouth shut. How? By trusting God, by pursuing meekness.
When people offend you, you must yield your right to take offense. You must forgive others so God can forgive you. (Matthew 6:14-15).
Extending forgiveness makes us feel vulnerable, however. After all, there is risk involved. What if I forgive, and my offender perceives that as weakness? What if he or she tries to walk all over me? I don’t want to be anyone’s doormat!
Never mind that fear, listen to David’s testimony concerning God’s protective care: “How great is Thy goodness, which Thou has stored up for those who fear Thee, which Thou has wrought for those who take refuge in Thee, before the sons of men! Thou dost hide them in the secret place of Thy presence from the conspiracies of man; Thou dost keep them secretly in a shelter from the strife of tongues. Blessed be the Lord, for He has made marvelous His loving kindness to me in a besieged city” (Psalm 31:19-21).
Don’t be afraid to forgive. The people you forgive may wound you again, but God will hide you in His presence. You may feel like you’re living in a besieged city, but don’t be dismayed. God’s loving kindness will guard over you.
Return Good for Evil
Peter urges us to be compassionate and humble. “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing,” Peter wrote, “because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:8-9, NIV).
When someone insults us, our first inclination is to retaliate. But the Word says we are to seek peace and pursue it (v.11). We are to feed our enemies, pray for them and love them (Romans 12:20-21); Matthew 5:44).
As Jesus hung from the Cross, He didn’t curse the people who put Him there. Instead, He prayed for them, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
He suffered and died a horrible death for the very sinners who had mocked Him and spit on Him. That’s meekness. That’s returning good for evil. And that’s the example we are to follow.
Breaking the anger habit won't be fast or easy. Victory won't happen overnight. But if you truly desire to change, He will show you the roots of your anger and help you to eliminate them one-by-one. And as you yield your rights to Jesus and pursue meekness, He will reward you with peace and joy. You will be happier and so will those around you.