Peace On Earth
by Charles F. Stanley
People are so angry today. They’re mad at what happened yesterday and bitter about things that occurred years ago. Perhaps you are angry with your spouse, a coworker, or a friend. The truth is, we all get mad at one time or another. The question we need to ask ourselves is, How should we deal with anger in ourselves and respond to it in others?
Many people are angry and don’t even realize it. They just know something’s not right on the inside. What they need is to be set free from the bondage of bitterness and resentment.
Then there are those who know they’re angry and just don’t care. These people nurture their anger. They cultivate and feed it, keeping hostility and hatred simmering for years.
Countless people have lost their marriages because of anger. They’ve lost their children, their jobs, and their health—all because they let this one emotion get out of control and take over their entire lives. We live in an angry world. Like a windswept wildfire, anger leaves scorched lives and devastating loss in its wake. This emotion reaches into our families, our neighborhoods, our communities, across our nation, and around the world.
If we’re honest, many of us will admit to feeling a degree of anger deep inside that is greater these days than we have felt before. It’s not a question of if we’ve ever been angry—all of us have been angry at one time or another. And there’s no way to guarantee we’ll never get angry again. But the Bible gives us very clear instruction regarding how we should handle this powerful and potentially damaging emotion.
And if you are, do you know why?
Why is it so important that we recognize and deal with anger? Because until we do, we will never find the peace that we all so desperately seek.
Only when we admit and deal with anger can we truly live in peace with ourselves and others.
If anyone ever had reason to be angry, it was Jesus at the time of His crucifixion. He was 100 percent innocent of all charges that had been brought against Him. He was spat upon, beaten, flogged, scourged, and had a crown of thorns thrust onto His head. Then He was forced to carry a heavy wooden cross through the marketplace in disgrace. He was a sinless man about to undergo the most torturous form of death known in His time. No one ever had greater cause to be angry.
Yet what did Jesus say when they nailed Him to that cross?
“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
There’s no forgiveness to match that. If Jesus can forgive, you and I can forgive. None of us will likely ever experience the torture and mistreatment Jesus endured.
There is no way to rationalize holding a grudge while also claiming to live under the authority of the cross. As a believer, I have a responsibility to forgive—no matter what.
It’s easier to forgive others when we remember the enormous blessing that God has given us by freely forgiving our sins. Those who have experienced the Father’s forgiveness know the joy and peace that comes when sins and guilt are washed away. If you have difficulty forgiving another person, simply recall what God has done for you. Choose to reflect to others the grace and love that He has shown you. You will never resemble Christ more than when you forgive others as He forgives.
Reprinted by permission of Howard, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.