I want to tell yall a little story about anger. It was once a pretty big issue of mine. Yelling at my kids. Yelling at my husband. Yelling at my mom. Yelling at myself. Yep, all the people that should mean the most to me felt my anger. I could give you excuses. Some would sound like really good reasons for my behavior. But then I would be a victim of my circumstance. A vicitm controlled by my surroundings is not something I want to be. As I walked closer with Christ I also realized that a victim is not what He wants me to be either. So, I went to work praying on it. At first I thought I needed to focus on not yelling at my family. Seems the logical course of action, right? Well, God often doesnt use logic when He is working on you. He goes more Mr. Myagi and tells you to go wax a car. In this instance, He told me to stop yelling at people in traffic. Why God? They cant hear me. Isnt this a good way to let my anger out and no one gets harmed? But someone was getting harmed. For one, my son heard me yelling at every little mistake another driver made. Now, as he is driving he is so concerned about doing something wrong that he finds no joy in driving. He hates it. Is that all because of me? Probably not, but it sure didnt instill confidence and grace in him, did it? It also harmed me. It allowed me to react at a moments notice in a negative way to something that angered me. It let that immediate rage reaction be ok. Clearly, my first step was to practice harnessing my rage to complete strangers on the road. From the safety of my car I could hear God’s correction, seek repentance, and do better. Over time I gained wisdom on how to take a breath…just take a beat and think “how do I want to choose to react?” Because it is a choice. There is always a choice. Now, I hope my family has noticed a change in me. Sometimes these things we dont think is hurting anyone are the exact things that are giving us permission to behave badly. Currently I am working on gluttony of food. God has shown me that self control on Monday through Saturday doesnt mean I get to reward myself on Sunday with a free for all binge. That behavior allows me to remain in bondage to the sin of gluttony. It harms me. What is sin on Monday through Saturday is still sin on the cheat day. What do you need to go “wax the car” on? God will reveal it when you take it to Him in prayer and trust His process over your logic.
With all that is going on lately I find myself getting angry a lot. I even find myself disliking people over it. I have been praying for the peace we are offered as followers of Christ. I have been reciting “God turns all bad to good for those that love Him” to try to make myself feel better. But you never feel better if you don’t truly believe it. And you can’t truly believe it if you don’t understand why you can believe it. This morning was my “aha” moment. That moment God impresses His word on your heart one more time and you finally understand. God doesn’t allow evil to exist without reason. All of this is to fulfill a purpose. His purpose. Why should I be angry at something that He is allowing to fulfill His purpose. Just because I don’t understand it doesn’t mean I should get angry at it. I don’t understand why He stops the ocean where He does. I don’t understand why He makes a sunrise and sunset so amazingly beautiful. He certainly doesn’t need my understanding to do His work and I don’t need to understand His reasoning to trust Him. I know God is good. He is love. God will not allow the storm to rage one second longer than required to fulfill His purpose. This is why we can live without fear. This is why we can live with peace. This is why we don’t have to be the loudest in the room. We simply live as the word directs and trust in Him. Simple. It is the enemy that complicates things. So, when we feel the anger build, and we feel the complications of life start to weigh us down…remember the simplicity that is our Saviour. Remember His offer in Matthew 11:28-30: Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Receive His offer and live in restful peace. Oh, how He loves us! Put your trust in Him today and everyday!
I love this excerpt from To Kill a Mockingbird, but these days I would replace head with heart. Not everyone who comes at you has a problem with you. Many times the problem is within themselves and when you choose not to fight but to love like Jesus then you start to make a difference. You plant a seed in their heart and you give yourself freedom. Freedom from drama, anger, and regret of words you said. Replacing a habit of fighting back with a habit of love will allow God to move more in your life and others. Stop looking at how much they hurt “me” and look for how much they have been hurt. When you walk in strong confidence with God and allow Him to declare your value then what others say doesn’t sting so hard. And when it does sting, you know where to take it so you can release it quick and get back to your Father’s business.
I am a very protective person. Once I care about you, I got your back. Someone swings on you then Im swinging on them. That has always been my nature. Let me tell you my downfall on this characteristic of mine. When I hear someone speak bad about God, Jesus, or my faith….I want to swing. I get mad more than concerned. Show me someone that is on the fence and Ill come running to try to love them over to the Savior’s side. Show me someone that is all the way over the other side and I am MAD. At THEM. I have been praying for guidance on this and God has finally shown me that I am trying to protect Him. Can you imagine that? Little ol me trying to protect God? Yall, this is the mindset that starts religious wars. And I dont want that. Even though I have learned to bite my tongue, my heart still fills with anger. Anger in the heart always finds a way out. People against God dont need my anger, and God certainly does not need my protection.
Thank You for showing me where I need to love more and put my anger down. Please help us all to see where we can be a light in the darkness, even in the darkest of places. Please remind us that our reactions can be seeds planted of good in Your favor. In Christ Name, Amen
2 Timothy 2:23-26
Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? …