Anger- I have been hearing it bandied about by students, friends, co-workers; even my children have been talking to me about anger. Honestly, just thinking about anger gets me angry. In my head I picture the red, fiery guy from Inside Out. In my head I think, "You think you have a right to get angry!!! Well, listen to my story!" Because anger is a lot like a fire that wants to be caught on and grow. Angriest wins, right?
I don't think that this is the first time I write about anger. I have had major anger issues growing up. I have had to deal with people who have anger issues. Nowadays when people tell me that they have anger issues I'm like, "Eh. Join the club." Because it really isn't about anger, it's about sin. It's about ego. It can be a lot of other things but anger may just be the vehicle for dealing with deeper stuff.
I was leaving work one day after not having the best day. I was in my car and I was trying to make a left hand turn to the turning lane. I was mid road with oncoming traffic when this one genius decides to make a left hand turn into the turning lane and just drive in it leaving me with a wall of cars coming toward me like a bad dream. My response was to scream and yell. What kind of idiot does this!!! It wasn't a question. I cursed bloody murder on this guy. Suffice it to say that I was not thinking logically. I made my turn and then started following this guy. I just wanted to punch him in his smug face. At some point, I felt a voice tell me, "What are you going to do? Are you going to follow him to hit him? Attack his car? It's assault. Can your children afford for you to be arrested and go to jail?" Man, if I got arrested and went to jail, it would be like this guy had won. Instead I prayed.
"God, do you see this?" I wailed with tears of anger pouring down my red face. I switched lanes. When the man turned, I went straight. I remembered Hagar, in Genesis 16:13, she called God "El-Roi." This means, the God who sees me. Hagar was done wrong in Genesis and she too called on God, the One who saw her and what she was going through. He also sees me when I am in the wrong.
As I drove off I remembered the snippet of a verse, "Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord." It is from Romans 12:19. The verse says to not avenge that the wrath of God will take care of it. So God sees what is happening and He will pay back. Chances are that He won't get arrested either.
I thought about anger for a while. I thought about my anger. My anger issues had to do with envy and an idea that I deserved better. It was an underlying theme in my every day life. The pastor had preached about how Jesus took the wrath of God for our sins for us when He died on the cross. The pastor said that we all deserved death on the cross. I deserve death on the cross. I started thinking about this every time a thought that smelled like entitlement crept in. Nothing works on ego more than understanding what you actually deserve. Everything becomes an opportunity for thanksgiving.
I hear people say that anger is good. They tell me, "Jesus got angry." Ephesians 4:26 says to be angry but not to let your anger cause you to sin and not to let the anger carry over into the next day. I have been angry for years and yes, I have let my anger cause me to sin. I think about the chaos of anger and the trouble it has gotten people. I believe that anger feeds the ego that we should kill. That's not good.
James 1:20 says "the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God." Read it again. Our anger does not help us in our righteousness. Self-righteousness is not good anyway. When God makes a thing right, it's a beautiful thing. Man, I long for God's way of right. My anger is not going that route. And who wants to be around angry people? I understand the angry. They are my people. But I am attempting to put my anger down, with my ego, to follow Jesus. Maybe I can get a few people to do it with me. Praise God.