So, I have posted pretty blah stuff lately. As such, I am feeling a bit pressured internally to take it a bit deeper. Not sure I will succeed, but I will try!
First of all, I’d like to talk about anger. As a Christian, and specifically a Christian Woman, I have been tacitly taught that anger is not a Christian trait. Anger is sin. Anger is BAD. And admittedly, I have done some of the dumbest things in my life when I was angry! Reacting in anger is uncool, attacking in anger is bad, and well…..anger sucks. So this generally validated the tacit encouragements of the Christian culture around me.
However, I find it interesting that the Bible does not call out ANGER, but calls out BEHAVIORS of us when we are angry! Here is what I am talking about:
Ephesians 4:26-27 (NIV): “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” Notice that Paul does not write “you best not get angry – anger is sin” but rather, “hey, I know you’re bound to get angry. Fine. But don’t sin when you are there.”
Even more powerful in this enlightenment I am experiencing is Ephesians 4:29, which reads “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” I can give you sob stories of how relatives tore me up when they were mad at me, or people who used to be close to me used their hurt and anger to justify ripping me apart. But more importantly, I have used “unwholesome talk” in my anger and pain to get some sort of “healing” or – more likely – revenge towards those that hurt me. And I am not even suggesting that the pain I went through was right, but two wrongs never make a right.
But the real kicker is at the end of this chapter in the Bible, verses 4:31-32, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
I believe, again, that it is not WRONG to be angry (hurt, resentful, crying out in pain, and acknowledging that another person has hurt you, etc.) What is WRONG is what we do with it. I, for one, have exploded with anger and regret it today. I, for one, have held onto bitterness against those who have hurt me, only to hurt myself in the process. I, for one, have asked for and expected forgiveness for my shortcomings, while denying the same to those who have wronged against me. I even felt justified in ripping apart these people, but have found it didn’t diminish the pain and/or bitterness I held. And I realize now that it didn’t bring me anywhere close to forgiving them…..in fact, it heightened my anger. So, maybe what Paul is saying here is that, to “get rid of bitterness and anger”, you truly have to put on the garment of Christ…..forgive where it seems impossible to forgive. For, let’s face it, do YOU and I DESERVE Christ’s forgiveness? Nope, we do not. So, maybe the way of getting rid of the anger and replacing it with kindness and compassion is to forgive…..even if it doesn’t make sense. Even if there is not retribution involved. Even if it doesn’t seem fair.
I must admit, there are big parts of me that is fighting against this premise! I want fairness! I want revenge…..
But again, if I did something wrong (and, believe me, I have) I would be more bent on wanting to be forgiven then wanting what I deserve……
Anyway, not sure if this makes sense. I feel better now that I am not such a failure because I get angry. I will now focus on what I DO with that anger, which is where the problem arises.
BUT, before I go, I wanted to share a few pics:
This pic cracks me up. It was taken in the Du-par’s Women’s employee bathroom. My, how times have changed!
And this pic was taken yesterday and Zack’s baseball game. I don’t know what has happened to me…..I used to find these sort of rules important, but have loosened up a little I guess! (And, btw, I was told the sign didn’t apply on weekends!)
Okay, well even though it’s Sunday, I am off for work! We sold one of our locations and I need to cut the employee’s final checks! Have a great day!