ANGER & UNFORGIVENESS: OPEN DOORS FOR SATAN (2 Corinthians – 1)
The early church faced many difficulties as it spread. Attacks from without were repelled by turning to Jesus for guidance and power. It was the attacks within the church that were, and still are, the most effective for Satan. The church in Corinth had more than its share of troubles, mostly brought on by their own sin and disobedience. Demons can use those sins as openings to come in and magnify the damage among believers. Paul wrote letters to the Corinthians to them to warn and educate them about these things. The warnings and teachings apply to us today as well.
In 2 Corinthians he warned the believers to be aware of Satan’s schemes so they aren’t tricked and defeated (2 Corinthians 2:11). The brother who was living with his father’s wife and was disciplined by exclusion from church fellowship (1 Corinthians 5:1-5) evidently repented and was restored to fellowship (2 Corinthians 2:5-6). Now Paul encourages them to forgive the man and treat him with love and acceptance (2 Corinthians 2:7-10). If they don’t forgive him, Paul says, Satan will use that to work against them (2 Corinthians 2:11).
LESSON FOR TODAY 1: Paul is warning them that Satan will use their unforgiveness as an opening to attack them. One of the leading causes of demonizing is unconfessed anger. Anger includes any form of unforgiveness, bitterness, hate, jealousy, gossip, criticism, etc. Paul says these can “give the devil a foothold” (Ephesians 4:26-27). He tells the Corinthians that if they don’t forgive each other Satan will use that to “outwit” them (II Corinthians 2:10-11). Jesus Himself said that those who don’t forgive others will be turned over to tormenting demons to bring them to repentance (Matthew 6:14-15; 18:34). This anger includes anger toward others, parents, self, or God. There can be no removing demons who claim this access until all anger is truly confessed and put under the blood of Jesus. This is one of the first things that usually comes up when we counsel people and pray for their deliverance. Do NOT take this lightly! Don’t rush through this step. Spending time praying for God to show anger and unforgiveness is time well spent.
Many verses warn about the danger of unconfessed unrighteous anger and how demons can use it to gain access to the angry person (2 Corinthians 2:10-11). “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold” (Ephesians 4:26-27).
LESSON FOR TODAY 2: Anger comes from mishandling hurt and pain. Instead of feeling the hurt we turn it into anger for revenge or control. This allows demons to use it as an opening. There is a lack of control that opens the door. Also, it is almost like a prayer for power to hate someone, and demons seek to answer that prayer. They made Saul angry at David, so much so that he tried to kill David (I Samuel 18:10-11; 19:9-10). Paul says there is a very close connection between anger and demonizing (Ephesians 4:27).
Pain must be handled as pain, not turned into anger. You can’t bury something alive and think you are getting rid of it. The hurt must be dead – faced, admitted, healed, removed, forgiven. When a person buries hurt alive it keeps poisoning everything until it is dug out and destroyed.
While there is a legitimate use for anger (‘righteous indignation’) most of what we face is not right. Anger is a secondary emotion, unlike fear which is a basic emotion. Wrong anger is always the result of mishandling another, deeper emotion like fear or pain. Let’s take pain, first of all. When a person hits their finger with a hammer what do they do? Usually, they get angry. What they feel is pain, but it comes out as anger because anger is a much easier emotion to handle than pain. When someone says something critical or threatening it hurts, but the natural response in many is to get angry. That way they don’t have to face the pain – but it stays and causes more and more anger. That’s where fear comes in. It’s not just pain that causes anger, but fear of pain. Fear is at the root of anger in other ways as well. To seek to manage our fears we try to control our lives and circumstances (thus the control emphasis part grows). We feel that is necessary to prevent pain and other things we fear. We use anger as a control tool. The adrenalin rush makes us feel in charge instead of a victim. We learn that people can be manipulated and controlled by our anger (or the threat of it) and we use that to control as well. This is another reason why it’s important to deal with and get victory over the fears down inside. When they go the anger and control issues will become much more manageable. A person can’t stop their anger as long as what causes it is still inside pushing it out. They must get the root cause out, and that is where dealing with the fear comes in.
Do you or someone you know struggle with anger? What have you learned from this blog that can help bring victory? Write down the main lessons that apply to you so you don’t forget them.
cto Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization
(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)
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