Session 12

Has your anger gone too far?

From 2 Samuel: A 5-Week Devotional

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2 Samuel 3

Mark Twain said, “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”

That sounds like anger should be avoided at all costs. But if anger itself is wrong, why would Ephesians 4:26 advise, “In your anger do not sin”?

In response to issues like abuse, injustice, and mistreatment, healthy anger can motivate us to find solutions. The danger, as Twain observed, occurs when we hold on to anger.

Unresolved anger gives way to bitterness. Bitterness poisons our perspective by focusing on the sins of others while forgetting we've fallen short ourselves.

Unresolved anger gives way to bitterness.

2 Samuel 3 chronicles a feud between the houses of Saul and David. Abner, a member of Saul’s family, was working to transfer power to David. Joab was an influential member of David’s family, and Abner had previously killed one of his brothers in self-defense. Understandably, Joab was angry. But he held on to that anger, allowing it to become bitterness.

During the negotiation process, Joab arranged a private meeting with Abner and killed him (2 Samuel 3:26-27). His bitterness caused him to lose sight of God’s promise, drove him to murder, and cursed his family for generations (2 Samuel 3:29).

We can avoid the dangers of unresolved anger by remembering God has forgiven us for our sins. Jesus paid for our sins by dying on the cross, so that through His death and resurrection, we may be forgiven and have a relationship with Him. When we grasp the fact that our debt has been cleared, our appreciation should leave no room for bitterness towards others (Ephesians 4:32).

Reflect:

  • Are you currently dealing with unresolved anger?
  • Have you thanked God for His forgiveness of your sins?
  • If you’re holding on to bitterness, have you asked God for the courage to seek resolution instead of revenge? What is one step you can take today toward forgiveness?

12 of 35

Devotionals From This Study

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Session 1

A life of harmony or hostility

Upsetting news can bring out raw emotions in everyone. We often respond in irrational ways because we’re not thinking clearly. Our fears ...

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Session 2

What popcorn can teach you about sin

Have you ever sat down with popcorn at the movies? You’re not super hungry, but it’s the thing to do, so you take a piece — then a few bi...

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Session 3

Sing like no one is listening

Singing, dancing, raising hands and crying are all part of worshipping God. The Old Testament is filled with stories of God’s children si...

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Session 4

God always has a better plan

It’s often said that when we make plans, God laughs. Sometimes, we make plans without considering God at all. But other times, we think o...

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Session 5

Why would God choose me?

Has God’s grace ever overwhelmed you? We know who we are, what we’ve done, and how undeserving we are of all that God has blessed us with...

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Session 6

What is the secret to success?

The old farmer was frustrated with his new-fangled saw, and there was no way he could cut two cords of wood a day as promised. “This saw...

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Session 7

Come out of the shadows

Mephibosheth is born into a wealthy and prominent family with a future that is secured. This grandson of King Saul and son of Jonathan is...

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Session 8

It’s OK to allow ourselves to grieve

Lots of people like David mourn in the Bible. Yet, we often don’t allow ourselves space or vulnerability to feel the emotions raging thro...

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Session 9

Respecting someone after they hurt you

During this life, someone is going to hurt us. It might be a friend we thought we knew, or even our own flesh and blood. We are not going...

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Session 10

When following God, always ask for directions

Have you ever followed your GPS only to end up at a dead end or a remote area? Perhaps you started on your journey without looking at the...

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Session 11

Does God call us to quit?

We’re all chasing after something—a career, a relationship, popularity, money, glory. In 2 Samuel 2:19, Asahel, one of David’s warriors,...

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Session 12

Has your anger gone too far?

Mark Twain said, “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” Th...

Read Devotional

Session 13

What “they” say doesn’t matter

If you live for people’s approval, you will die from their rejection. Anybody who has ever lived through high school knows that is more ...

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Session 14

Why waiting is worth it

David knew God had called him to be king, but the journey from the field to the palace was hard fought and often bloody. David could have...

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Session 15

Why should I ask God what to do?

Most of us don’t like being told what to do. Often, pride makes us want to rebel. Maybe we think we should know what to do on our own, or...

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Session 16

Did you hear what she did last night?!

Who doesn’t like flattery and attention? What if the person doling compliments is not your spouse? What’s the harm with a little innocent...

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Session 17

Is God fair?

“It’s not fair!” If we’re parents, we’ve heard our children say this many times. Even if we aren’t parents, we’ve said it ourselves. We’v...

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Session 18

Why would I reconcile with God?

In 2 Samuel 14:1-24, the wise widow helped David see that his actions did not reflect the heart of God. 2 Samuel 14:14 (NIV 84) tells us...

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Session 19

The difference between love and lust

Today, love is a very misconstrued word. We throw the word love around so much the true meaning has been watered down. Love has become mo...

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Session 20

Is the work of discipline worth it?

Shepherds in Kenya use the thorny branches of the acacia tree to make a tall, thick sheepfold, guarding their animals from predators.  G...

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Session 21

How do you know who to trust?

Do you know someone who will say one thing but do another? It can be pretty annoying. Whether it’s doing your fair share of a school or w...

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Session 22

Choose your battles wisely

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Choose your battles wisely”?  Maybe your mom told you this when you asked advice about how to handle a ...

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Session 23

How to handle the haters

“Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.”  Contrary to the childhood rhyme, words do hurt. Justified or not, ...

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Session 24

Pride: a fatal flaw

In 2 Samuel 17, Absalom tries to steal the throne from his father. Hushai, one of David’s confidants, pretends to be on Team Absalom in o...

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Session 25

Do you act before you think?

Have you ever done or said something before thinking about it?  You can probably imagine a dozen instances when you wish you would have ...

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Session 26

Getting over the grip of grief

Loss is like a freight-train that hits us unexpectedly — then continues to drag us around the tracks for miles to come. When we lose a l...

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Session 27

Do for others what Jesus has done for you

After winning the kingdom back from his son, David makes a triumphant return to Jerusalem in 2 Samuel 19. It would seem like a perfect ti...

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Session 28

Your words can ease the tension

Two children grow up in the same home sharing the same environment. They know each other well, so they always get along with each other, ...

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Session 29

Is God your last resort?

Ever have one of those days? You know, when something goes wrong, and you think, “At least it can’t get any worse,” but then it does get ...

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Session 30

How do you feel about God?

Have you heard the saying: “What Susie says of Sally says more of Susie than of Sally”?  It’s is mostly used in reference to gossip, but...

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Session 31

How to praise God in all circumstances

A lot happened to David in his life. He went from being a shepherd to God’s anointed king (1 Samuel 16:11-13). He loved God and wrote som...

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Session 32

Waiting for a leader worth following?

David is remembered as Israel’s greatest king, but Scripture is full of reminders that David was far from perfect. His legacy is marred b...

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Session 33

What you need to lead others well

Would you risk your life to bring your commander a drink from his favorite watering hole? How about risking your popularity to defend the...

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Session 34

How to fight with God’s strength

As Christians, we fight battles on a daily basis. Some are internal, like the fight for personal integrity and purity. Others are on beha...

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Session 35

God’s character revealed

As the scorpion leaped from the fish’s back, landing on the river bank, the stinger hit its mark and the fish struggled to stay upright a...

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