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Shake Him Off

• Greg Boyd

At the end of every year, it is good to look back on that year and resolve things that have been left unresolved. In this sermon, Greg shows how unresolved anger is pollution in our lives, and we should resolve it and shake off the devil.

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This is the final sermon for 2013, and it’s important to take a look and ask ourselves what we need to forgive and give thanks for. These two things are related and important to one another. As the year ends, we should all take a look back and make sure we haven’t given the devil a foothold in our lives.

Paul, in Ephesians 4:25-26, says that it’s ok to be angry, but it becomes a sin if we give the devil a foothold in our anger. When we go to sleep with our anger, or we push it down and let it fester in our souls, then it becomes something more than just anger at a situation.

Anger happens when something you value is devalued. We place value on many things and when someone else makes it less valuable, such as scratching our car, we get angry. Now, we might place too much value on something and thus get angry when we shouldn’t, but sometimes anger can be normal. But when we allow our anger to become submerged and dwell inside of us, it becomes part of our being and stinks up the rest of our being.

The song by Florence, called “Shake it Out”, says a lot about this truth. “Regrets collect like old friends so that you relive your darkest moments”. When we push down our anger, they become like friends that never leave us and remind us of our darkest moments. “Every demon wants its pound of flesh”. If we give the devil a foothold, he becomes a parasite. Finally, Florence woke up and realized she’d been a fool and been blind. It was time to bury the dead horse they had been dragging around in the ground.

As we close out 2013, it’s important to take a look back and ask ourselves if there’s any pollution we need to shake out before 2014. It might be time to shake the devil off and stop with harboring our anger. To do this, we should ask ourselves an important question.

Are you less grateful, less joyful, or more negative than you were a year ago? If so, the Lord is telling you it’s time to stop the enemy from killing, stealing, and destroying your life. The enemy simply wants to destroy any life that we have, and he uses unresolved anger as a way to do this. When we are angry, we can’t see the good things in life, and we don’t live out the Kingdom.

The only way to stop anger is to extend grace and forgive. Forgiveness is about releasing a debt. When someone hurts us, they owe us a debt to make it better. But, if they don’t want to fulfill that debt, we can get stuck holding it and resenting that person. We should hang onto no debts because our value isn’t given by how people treat us. Rather, it’s given by Jesus on Calvary. Also, remember that God has forgiven you a debt that was infinitely greater than any debt anyone owes you.

Same thing applies if you need to forgive yourself. To not forgive yourself is to act like you are God because you are demanding a payment greater than God demanded. We should be quick to forgive ourselves because God has already forgiven us and has shown us our true worth.

Unforgiveness blocks our ability to be thankful. To be thankful, we must notice the little things God is doing in our everyday life. We will only be as grateful and joyful as we are aware of God in the ordinary, everyday happenings in life. We all look for miracles and signs from God, but if we look closely enough, they are everywhere around us.

It’s important, at the end of the year, to take a look back and reflect on things that we need to resolve. Anger is one of these. Instead of letting anger pollute our lives, we should be quick to forgive and, in so doing, shake off the devil from ruining our thankfulness and joy.

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Topics: Conflict, Forgiveness, Joy

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Focus Scripture:

  • Colossians 3:13, 15-17

    Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

    And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.

    Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

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10 thoughts on “Shake Him Off

  1. Gopher says:

    Nailed it. Thanks for the truth.

  2. Lisa says:

    Loved the sermon! What should I do if the person who wronged me is still denying the full extent of their actions–it feels like a dagger in the heart. How can I forgive someone for lying to me when they continue to do so? Should I do as suggested in Matthew and bring the person before two or three witnesses? Or should I let go of my need to know the truth which is wreaking havoc on my subconscious. I am waking up in the middle of the night thinking about the undisclosed truth. The confession given to me was minimal and an attempt to get away with the least amount possible . My heart knows there’s more. How do I forgive and heal when such deeds are not brought into the light?

  3. M85 says:

    I love what Greg talks about around 39:00-41:00 on “the examen”. Sadly most christians are taught to ignore all feelings.

  4. Peter says:

    Hi Lisa…you raise an interesting aspect that, no doubt, all of us have had to deal with at sometime in one form or another. My resolution of such an issue is probably neither unique or perhaps fully satisfying as we would all like.
    Effectively, in these situations we are “acting like God”, being both judge, jury and potentially, the executioner until we consider that “justice has been served”. If, given that situation, where is the wisdom we use to begin and the wisdom to end our anger?
    (Here I am talking about situations that do not have legal implications (although one can argue these days what doesn’t have a legal implication)….but issues that are unfriendly and designed to hurt the offended party and probably at the lower end of the justice scale of severity.)
    If we look at our own situations in relation to God, we have all fallen short of His requirements, yet out of His great mercy and love and forgiveness we can be restored to our former glory……what if He were to execute judgment on us as we would do to those who transgress us?
    As Greg has said on many an occasion, we can only present a cruciform love to our brothers and sisters……which means in practice that for our enemies, we love them, we pray for them and we forgive them. God, who is judge of all will do right and therein lies our wonderful dependence on Him.
    Personally, I now see that I can rejoice in this aspect that judgment, as such, of any situation is not my prerogative but God’s all I’m required to do is to love, pray and forgive and live in the joy of that activity. Sure that may appear as weakness to some, but strength in God’s kingdom.

  5. Lisa says:


    Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I know that God’s desire is to heal me. I also know that healing cannot occur until I let go of my un-forgiveness. It’s interesting to me that my desire to know the whole truth in this situation is interfering with His ability to heal my heart and perhaps even my body. I want to let go but it appears that my subconscious is unwilling! Why are my dreams filled with thoughts I do not wish to think? What right does Satan have to influence my thinking without my permission? It’s as if my physical self is holding onto a grudge that my heart desires to let go of. Consciously, I choose light and life and yet there is something deeper within my being that resists seeing the Light (staying focused on Christ). My goal–with God’s help–is to hold every thought captive to Christ. I can only surrender who I am and allow God to redeem the broken pieces that are my life–only he can use them for his glory!

    God Bless and many thanks,


  6. Peter says:

    Thanks Lisa I note your reply…..however, one thing that I will mention but do not wish to sound like one of Job’s “friends”, a wise saying that I mentioned in one of my previous writings is, “unforgiveness makes us a prisoner of the past”. If Jesus has died for our sins and released us from our former prison, perhaps in this case our own mind, then why do we pay the work of the Cross a disservice by choosing to remain in that prison. I know of a situation during World War II when Changi, a Japanese prisoner of war camp in Singapore, was repatriated by the allies they had to actually line the prisoners up and physically march them out of the camp as the prisoners did not believe that they had been freed.
    Similarly in our own lives, do we really reflect the the joy and restoration of our own lives from passing from death to eternal life?…..or, would we prefer to live in the “comfort” of our “old” self together with its fears, judgments, hatred and degradation etc? No, Jesus has released us totally from that situation and it is up to us to reflect that joy both to God and our neighbor through the Holy Spirit now dwelling in us and witnessing to that fact.
    So Lisa, I would both pray for forgiveness to the offending party and similarly pray for God to make it real to you that you have been released you from any bondage you currently experience in relation to this situation. Also, have Him cleanse your mind from those negative and troubling thoughts and replace them with true joy.

  7. Kathy D. says:

    Greg thank you for this message. And thank you, God, for never leaving nor forsaking us; for always working to redeem us, to clothe us, surround us, in Your goodness.

  8. roger says:

    So, how do you uncover what it is that is making you angry if you can’t remember it?

  9. Peg Ruetten says:

    For Lisa and Peter,

    I appreciated your thoughtful and honest exchange. When we seem to be unable to move into feeling forgiveness (or being free of something) it is sometimes helpful to offer prayer something like ” I seem to be unable to forgive this, and I don’t know all the pieces of that, but I want to be willing to forgive this. Help me to find the openness to be willing to forgive.” Imagine what it might be like to be willing. How would it feel? What draws me to forgive? Sit with that. Notice what draws you forward and what seems more like a block. Imagine the dreams of the past with a different outcome. How does that seem? Be gentle with your heart.

  10. Dawn says:

    Random thought for Greg:
    If you’re digging the heavier stuff (as I do), you might want to check out Demon Hunter & Sleeping Giant. The singer from Sleeping Giant, turned a metal concert my husband and I attended into a praise & worship session. He’s a pastor as well, and from what I remember has the kingdom vision like WHC. It’s always encouraging to see more pastors on that train. My 2 cents.

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