march 6th - anger
Therefore, putting away lying, "Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor," for we are members of one another. "Be angry, and do not sin": do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. Eph 4:25-27 (NKJV)
I was hurt...wait a minute...wait a minute...now I am feeling angry! I am angry, because, I am the injured party. (At least according to my side of the story) At first I felt let down, betrayed, weary and ready to throw in the towel; and then I made some emotional adjustments and I was ready to fight, talk back, defend myself and justify my actions. The emotional undercurrent was anger. I did not let it show. I kept a pretty good lid on what I said, but a weakness in my personality was having a pity-party and causing my brain to drift into dangerous territory. It messed with my sleep, (which is already difficult for me) and so I woke up with the same set of circumstances, only now I was extremely tired and less in control of my emotions.
I am by nature a slow burner. It generally takes a lot of nonsense, over a long period of time, to fan the flames of my anger. The pressure builds as I focus on the facts; and how those facts impact me; and how I feel that others have somehow let me down. Did you notice that "I" am the focus here? Is life really all about me? Let us hope not!!! Here is the question that I need to grapple with: "In my anger, how can I avoid falling into sin, and making a difficult situation even worse?"
Here are a few of my thoughts:
I'm not an angry person by nature. I'm more of a "live and let live" kind of a person. However, I can, I have and I am sure that I will experience anger. It's not as if I don't have experiences in my life that push my buttons. I have been cheated, swindled, taken advantage of, cut off in traffic, been the brunt of a joke, lied about, gossiped about, left out, rejected, lied to, assaulted, underestimated, marginalized, scolded, judged... You get the idea, because you are also living on the same planet--filled with the same people.
Let me tell you what amazes me. That God would so love the world that He would send Jesus to rescue us. If anyone had reason to be angry, that person would be Jesus. And yet, in the midst of injustice and humiliation, Jesus spoke these words to the Father. "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." When I take a moment to pray and consider the undeserved abuse that Jesus bore, it changes my perspective--and it changes my anger into forgiveness.
Author's Note: Make no doubt about it--I am a passionate person. I probably need more compassion and less passion. Truth be told, I have suffered at the hands of other people, but I am not without fault myself. I have not always put the needs of others before my own; followed the Golden Rule; or even been that nice of a person. Come to think of it--there are a couple of people that I need to go to and ask for their forgiveness. RJD