When anger shows up, let it go
BY PASTOR BRANDON YOUNG
During summer school, I overheard our principal disciplining a student who had an altercation with another student on the playground. What the other student said upset him so much, the student grew visibly angry as he recounted the incident. The principal explained in life, we choose what we hold onto and what we must release. She told the student about a website called letgo. On this website, you take pictures of items that you no longer need so you can sell them. She told the student that he needed to put the other student’s comments on letgo because in the end, he was only hurting himself by holding onto those negative words. I watched as the student de-escalated and I began to evaluate things in my own life that were hurting me emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
Galatians 5:1 says, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Christ died to set us free, but so often we bring the clutter of this world back into our lives. When Jesus came into our hearts, he removed the detritus and gave us liberty. We must choose to stand in that liberty. Free means “not encumbered with.” We are encumbered by our past failures and past grievances. The key word is PAST. They are in the past and that is where they should stay. We must live our lives looking through the windshield rather than the rearview. No one looking back is fit for the Kingdom of God.
2 Peter 2:20 proclaims, “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.” Once the Lord has removed the pollutions of the world from our lives, and we choose to go back and bring these things back into our lives, our current condition is worse than when we first began a relationship with Jesus. We all know how easy it is to accumulate stuff and the same can be said in our spiritual lives. Satan is always selling us his lies and once we believe them, we are cluttering our lives with the things that will eventually destroy us if we choose not to let them go.
We are used to hanging on for dear life. We will rent a storage building for all the things we can’t let go. We hang on for lots of reasons. Perhaps because something is familiar; because the past is a known commodity and the future is a question mark; because we can’t conceive of a better future; because blankies (no matter how ragged and trashed they are) and relationships (no matter how complete or incomplete they already are or inappropriate they have become) are a comfort to us. We hang on because we’ve been taught that persistence is good and we should never give up, or we’re simply afraid. Hanging on is a real fear; letting go is hope. Holding on is believing there’s only a past; letting go is knowing there’s a future. In letting go, we surrender the weight of our burdens. In our spiritual depths, we all have a profound sense of the impropriety of clinging to stages of life and ways of living that no longer serve us. We know they are no longer a part of our essence, and yet most of the time, it is extremely hard to move away from them.
1 Peter 5:7 says, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” We need to load up our cares, worries, and anxiety and sell them to Jesus. In exchange for those cares, He will give you peace, comfort, joy, and hope. For whatever reason, we choose to live with those cares and anxiety, and they take the joy out of life completely.
Once the student let go of the negative rhetoric, he experienced calm and a smile made its way across his face. He realized what was said did not really matter in the first place. Jesus states in Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” If we seek after Jesus first and foremost, he will provide us with what we need in our lives. Will you take the time and effort to examine your life? In doing so, I am sure you will find hurt, trauma, grievances, anger, and anxiety that need to be sold on letgo. Jesus is in the market to buy, and you can’t beat his currency! You will get healing, hope, care, compassion, and comfort. It sure pays to let go and let God!
(The Solution Column is provided by Pastor Brandon Young of Harmony Free Will Baptist Church, Hampton)