Unresolved anger is the fuel of rebellion. That's one reason Scripture speaks so sternly about it.

"Be angry and sin not" implies there is a way to be angry and not offend God. Anger over injustice. Fury at evil itself. Anger at the way Satan uses and manipulates people. In those cases, you and God are on the same side. God gets angry, too.

But when anger is left to fester on its own, it becomes rebellion--a rampant fire that is very difficult to contain. Dr. Phil says anger is simply "hurt turned inward." When a hurt is so deep, so impossible to understand or accept, too often we pull it inside, tamp it down in a dark place in our souls, and refuse to admit it is there. But it IS there, poisoning and infiltrating everything we do. It may start out turned inward, but it soon swells so big that it turns outward too, maiming and destroying relationships, potential, and most importantly our connection with God.

"Make no friendship with an angry man" is Solomon's warning to us about the devastating results of unresolved anger. You are going to get burned, he says, if you hang around an angry person. And it is true.

Once that initial hurt has rooted and started to grow, it is a natural catch-all for every hurt that comes along later. A big anger-pot is already simmering, just toss in another one. An angry person views others in his life as potential hurters--one wrong move, one unpleasant encounter, and the inflicter of hurt gets added to the pot, and the lid is slammed shut. Soon the pot is boiling and churning and so hot it is untouchable. It has a life of its own.

That's where rebellion begins. Sin prances along, enticing, beckoning, and the angry one lifts a brow of interest. Conscience rises on her hind legs, shouting, "No! No! Wrong! Don't do it!"

But the anger is bigger, louder, more powerful than anything else and conscience is easily shouted down time and again until she rarely bothers to warn anymore. Every time sin calls, the angry one has only to whip the lid off the simmering pot, peek inside at all those who've inflicted pain, and nod with satisfaction. Sin choices are justified...after all look what ___?___ did!

Soon the anger is a necessary and valued part of life. To give it up would be to give up a reason for being! It's the fuel of life, the whole reason he can sin and not feel guilty: "I deserve this right to rebel! I've been hurt! I owe it to myself to get what I want, because life dealt me a low blow. You hurt me. He hurt me. God hurt me!"

And so the pot boils on, conscience is tossed into the flames as useless tinder, and unless the anger is dealt with completely, the boiling pot tossed out, it leads to what Romans calls a "reprobate mind."

To sin without guilt! Isn't it wonderful? Following my own path...charting my own course...a free spirit we call it, and it sounds like such unfettered freedom! But God calls it a reprobate mind, past the point of no return. His Spirit will not always strive with man, Scripture says.

The day you can live comfortably in sin, prefer your acquaintances be others of like mind, toss conviction to the wind...that is the day you begin to die. Just as in the garden, when Adam took a bite, the Scripture says, "In that day, he died." Not physically, but his soul set the course away from God and Hell yawned before him.

Conscience is a gift to us, not a curse. Once it is killed, you have cut the connection between your spirit and God's. He'll let you stomp straight ahead in your rebellion if you choose to. But it's with sorrow that He watches you go.

Let Him deal with the rage that drives you deeper into an uncharted wilderness. Give it up before you no longer have that option. Escape from conscience may look like freedom, but it's merely a prison from which there is eventually no escape.

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