Don’t Fight the Absolutes

I don’t know about you, but often, I find myself “excusing” feelings or behavior in myself, which just last week, I was judging my closest rival for.

“How dare she be angry about that situation? Doesn’t she know that God is the One in control? She sure doesn’t understand sovereignty!”

“I can’t believe that she told that “white lie” to her husband! How can she be so deceitful?”

“Look at that Mom yelling at her poor little boy. What a joke! She shouldn’t be allowed to have kids.”

Of course, most of us only think these things, and would never admit to it out-loud. However, it is so very easy to justify our own failures and poor choices, because somehow, we just don’t believe in absolutes. We feel that the standard is different for us, because we are somehow more worthy of the extra grace.

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Romans 6:1-2

Other times, we rationalize our actions because “everyone else is doing it,” so it must be okay.  More often still, we use comparison to give us permission to sin.  We feel that as long as we aren’t “as bad as” the person next to us, we are somehow better than them.  We forget that sin is always sin in God’s eyes, no matter whether it is adultery or lying, and whether it is anger, which causes abuse, or anger that is simply harbored in the heart. Sin is sin. Period.

But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding. 2 Corinthians 10:12b

The Scriptures are full of absolutes for everything – love, submission, forgiveness, hatred, thankfulness, etc.  For an example, here are the absolutes concerning anger:

Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Psalm 4:4

(See for righteous anger vs. sinful anger)

Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. Psalm 37:8

The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Psalm 103:8

Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly. Proverbs 14:29

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1

A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention. Proverbs 15:18

Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city. Proverbs 16:32

Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11

Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of fools. Ecclesiastes 7:9

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. Matthew 5:21-22

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Ephesians 4:31

But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Colossians 3:8

I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling. 1 Timothy 2:8

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. James 1:19

For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:20

In light of those verses, how many times have you heard someone say, or maybe you have said it yourself, “It’s okay to be angry about this circumstance that you/I am going through. It’s natural.” Really? Is that what God says, or what our own human heart says?

We often know the truth, but we find ourselves suppressing it, in order to do what feels right to us. We need to be careful to take a moment to make sure that what we are telling ourselves is the truth. Remember, the truth will set us free.  Anything else is a lie that will hold us in bondage. Yes, God loves us more than we can fathom, but He loves us way too much to allow us to live a life of sin. Change your belief, and your attitudes and actions will follow.

Original material by Holly M. Besser, ©2013. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bp27p02-18-13

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