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CATHARSIS…

“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.” -Ephesians 4:31-32

Did you know that the reason that the Psalms of anger and lament in the Bible exist is for the purpose of catharsis? This prevents us from taking an emotion that we feel, not pretending that it’s not there, and thereby not diverting it to some innocent person who happens to cross our path. Instead, these Psalms help us to bring our anger to God.

When we read or sing these Psalms, it’s God, as if he’s a big bear, saying, “Don’t hit them. Hit me.” He allows us to say, “God, I’m angry!” The Psalms of anger give us a place to bring our real anger before the Lord. We can even say, “Lord, I wish they were dead.” Now, many of us think, “No, we can’t say that.” Well, you already think it! It’s already in there!

The point is that when we feel emotions of violence or that we want to get back at someone or want vindication, we shouldn’t ignore it. Instead, we should bring it to God in prayer.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank you for hearing my complaints. I am truly angry and you know why. I pray for your peace to come into my heart and fill the places that are now open as the anger departs. Amen.

REFLECTION: How has the Lord helped you to deal with your anger?

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