I was 21 and it was Spanish. Attempting to get some high school years neglected college pre-reqs out of the way so I could enroll at the university. Married to the military, baby-in-tow, I was hoping to memorize as many terms as possible so I could kick-butt on my final exam.
I didn't talk to God at that time. I did my own thing.
A young military wife and neighbor arrived at my door. She was collecting phone-numbers and basic contact information to put together a neighborhood phone book of sorts so if anyone had a need we would just be 7 number pushes away.
But she was interrupting me.
No thank you wasn't enough... she persisted... she was pushy... I SNAPPED. It wasn't pretty.
I can't tell you how many times in the last 20 years I have regretted that moment. Maybe she was pushy, but she was trying to do something nice: create community among a disassembled mass of bodies all placed far from home.
But I couldn't' see that.
I was too busy, honed in on my own agenda. The two minutes of hospitality I could have taken would have saved the years of disappointment in myself that resulted.
I have been "reborn" for many years now, yet even in a state of re-birth, tempers can still flare. I like to think that my faith walk and age has progressed me past the hot-headed impulsive state I once was. But anger is an ugliness that touches every Christians life, no matter how righteous they seek to live.
It is so ugly, in fact, saying the word "anger" is often treated like half the 4-lettered-words out there we try to avoid to keep from looking ugly.
A fool gives full vent to anger, but a wise person quietly holds it back
- Proverbs 29:11 (NLT)
No one wants to consider themselves a "fool". But like it or not, that is how we look when we give way (especially quickly and easily) to the bite of the angry bug.
- Often you are not blowing up over the thing that is really at the root of your frustration
- "My response is my responsibility"
- Arguments often happen when reality and expectations collide
- The battle starts in your mind
The pastor ran a gamut on anger this Sunday but he more specifically centered it around relationships. Today I feel compelled, however, to consider anger from the perspective of our thoughts and reactions. These, after all, effect our relationships.
When the angry bug bites me I find myself asking:
- Am I snapping at others because they are interrupting me....
- ...if so, is what I am doing so important that it can't be set aside for a moment of someone else's time
- Am I hurt or upset because I am falling short and someone else is noticing
- ... does it really matter that I am falling short? Should I allow someone else's words or expectations to hurt me
- Am I remembering God's timing and God's expectations are the two most important measuring points in my life?
It is in our perspective and understanding that we find both hurt and healing.
Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about. '
Philippians 4:8 (TLB)
I am, by no means, perfect. But in the years of many hurts and opportunities (and giving-in-tos) of allowing the hurt to get to me God revealed the above truth from Philippians as one of the most powerful central points to healing and moving forward.
We shouldn't be one of those hurt people that hurt people. We can CHOOSE to break the chains of bondage that push us to respond unkind and begin responding in-kind.
Does the recipient deserve it? Maybe not. But did we deserve God's ultimate grace as Jesus hung on the cross? No... but we received it anyway.
Go in grace this week. May the peace and love of Christ push out any hurt and anger that might dwell in the corners of your life.
Be most blessed,
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