I was…I said I was an angry man. I would lose my temper quite a bit. But I am not that way anymore. There was a lot of work the Holy Spirit had to do on me to squelch the beast inside of me. It all started with the truth and getting the right perspective on life seeing learning to see things as the Lord sees them. This was the gathering up of truth, but then I had to learn how to act upon this truth. I remember reading the Scripture that is also our Verse of the Day:
A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
When we first look at this verse, it seems to be quite straightforward. It seems to be saying that whatever we allow into our hearts is what is going to come out. Our words will reveal what is in our heart and this is true, no doubt. But these words ‘stored up’ kept coming back to my mind. What does it mean to store up something? When I first read the passage, I began to try to guard against letting things into my heart. The problem was that anger was not something I ‘let’ in. I never gave anger my overt approval. I hated my temper and I did not want it. What’s less is that for a long time, I didn’t even realize how it was getting into my heart. I was doing my best to guard my heart, but like a stealth bomber, anger seemed to easily slip in undetected then come out all of a sudden in the most destructive ways. I was so frustrated with myself.
The Holy Spirit began to go deeper with me. Like a rabbit in the garden before the fence went up, there were unholy thoughts and emotions in me that have been there long before I began to guard my heart. It was not that I was not guarding my heart. It was that the past corruption of my heart was still creating problems in my life. The key for me was to understand this phrase ‘stored up.’ I can’t store what I don’t see. So, I had to learn how to wait until I saw my anger, then choose not to store it up.
Confession and restitution were the principles the Lord gave me to allow the Lord to begin to cleanse me from the remnants of my past. When my anger came out, as soon as I was emotionally able, I began to confess to the Lord my sinful thoughts and ask for cleansing. I held tightly to this promise:
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
The Lord began to work on me, but then the Lord impressed upon me the principle of restitution. This is going above and beyond to make things right. In the Old Testament, if a person stole something, to make restitution, they did not simply give what they had taken back. They gave as much as they stole plus more on top of that. I began to make restitution to those I lost my temper with. I would go back to those people and ask for their forgiveness for the way I said things and the unloving things I said in anger.
Confession and restitution positioned me to be in a much better place with the Lord. I am not going to say that I never get upset because I do, but the moments of anger are rare with much less intensity. But I have made great progress and I take no credit. It was the truth of God, the Word of God, the power of God, and my submission to His authority in my life that brought me through to another season.
How well do you use the principles of confession and restitution? What is hard about using them?
Leave me a comment. I would love to hear from you!