Hell is brewing inside you, but you don’t know it.
Maybe you’ve tried to understand what’s wrong, why you’re so upset and frustrated and angry all of the time. Why sometimes the smallest things set you off.
Believe me, I was there.
I own two businesses, a media company and a real estate company, and that’s normally enough to occupy the majority of my time. This past September, my wife and I welcomed our first child, a sweet little boy named Joshua. Around the same time, I was trying to launch a new sports website called Hall & Arena (you should go to it www.hallandarena.com and maybe hit “LIKE” on the Facebook page), and to top that off, I had an aging mother whom I worried about constantly.
Stuff. There was just a lot of stuff going on in my life. From work to home, my day turned into a constant juggling act.
Because of these numerous responsibilities, I began to believe that everything in my life was subject to my control and that the people in my life were greatly relying on me for their survival and well-being. I had somehow convinced myself that these people needed me, thereby exalting myself and lowering everyone else. How arrogant of me.
What I didn’t realize was that satan was trying to set a trap. As I continued to try to manage my businesses, manage people, I would grow constantly frustrated when things didn’t meet my expectations. When the people in my life didn’t meet my expectations. There was a clear bar I had set in my mind and if you didn’t meet that—watch out.
So the frustration continued to mount, and I became increasingly snappy with my work staff and my wife. My wife even joked that I was “grumpy pants” but she wasn’t laughing.
While I projected a happy, amiable façade on the outside, my inside life was in shambles. I was frustrated, angry, bitter. I even snapped at my mom a few times on the phone. It didn’t take much to set me off.
I thought that I was doing what I needed to do to offset some of the mounting crap in my life. I was praying, reading my Bible, going to church. Heck, I was even running and working out almost every day of the week. But I found no real sense of release and no real sense of peace.
What I didn’t realize is that I was hauling the baggage of anger and related emotions around everywhere I went (negative emotions just don’t evaporate, but rather leave a residue that, if not swept away, will collect). I was like a bellhop with three bags marked “frustration,” “anger,” and “bitterness.” Just toting that stuff around. I brought it to the office, brought it to conversations with my employees, brought it to exchanges with my wife. And oftentimes I was miserable to be around.
But recently I have been liberated.
Here’s the problem. In America, we don’t have any idea how to cope. We lack coping skills. Nobody teaches us how to get through. Heck, even the church doesn’t teach us much about that. They stuff a Bible in our hands and say, “Here. Read this.” Or they tell us to pray and we feel like even our prayers are ineffective. We are still bitter, frustrated, and angry as hell. We haven’t found our “best life now.”
So we turn to the bottle and the needle to cope with our stuff. We turn to the tawdry websites and the chat rooms. But even there we don’t find rest. In fact, we find that there is much, much more unrest.
So what’s the ultimate problem?
It’s that we have no idea how to pray. We have no idea how to drop the baggage, because here’s the thing: you can’t drop the baggage by yourself.
God has to do it for you.
Do you believe in God? He can help you with this stuff. He wants to help you with this stuff. And He is the ultimate solution.
We deal with negative emotions all the time. But we don’t have to hold onto those negative emotions. God can release us from them so we don’t have to carry them around with us. You can have freedom from this, absolutely.
It’s not just that He has helped us to understand that we have anger, bitterness, resentment, contempt, wrath, malice and other negative emotions. It’s that He has provided a way for us to rid ourselves of all of them. He’s given us a process to drop the baggage and walk through this life—liberated and free.
The applicable verse is found in Ephesians 4:31-32 “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
The Scripture tells us to “get rid of.” The King James version says, “Let all…”
Okaaaay, how do I do that?
Here is the 3-step procedure for putting away negative emotions:
Step 1: Prayer of Emptying
Pray this prayer: “Lord, help me to put away all bitterness, anger, clamor, slander, malice, and wrath.”
Thank Him that He has done that. Worship Him for His faithfulness that He is watching over his word to perform.
Step 2: Prayer of Filling
Pray this prayer: “Lord, fill me with your kindness and tenderheartedness.”
Thank Him that He has done that. Worship Him for his faithfulness.
Step 3: Prayer of Forgiveness
“Now Lord, please allow me to forgive (person) for (as many things that come to your heart). And help me to forgive in such a way that removes the issue from between us.”
Lastly, praise Him for his amazing grace!
Sound good? Good. Now repeat that many times per day.
Lastly, every Friday, I meet with a man named John who disciples me and teaches me the word of God. John said something recently that has really stuck with me. He said, and I am going to offset this because I think it’s so important:
“Unforgiveness is an acid that eats away at its container.”
I have found that this is absolutely true, and I believe that you can slide any of those negative emotions in that slot—bitterness, anger, resentment, wrath, malice, frustration—and it would still be true. If left untreated, un-dealt-with, these things can and will eat you alive.
Hell will be brewing inside you, but you won’t know it.
Conversely, if we ask the Lord to come and work with our heart like Play-Doh, He will rid the hardness of our heart and fashion for us a kind, forgiving one in its place. 78