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I’m not an angry person. At least that’s what I thought. That is until I read Ed Welch’s article on Anger. Dang it, Ed.

While I don’t scream, smash things, or throw a hissy fit (anymore) I certainly identify with at least half of the “different faces of anger” Ed writes about:

  • Desire for Revenge –  quiet yet powerful; mental energy spent on plan to get even
  • Fantasies of Another’s Misery  –  wanting the other person to fail; being happy when they do
  • Cursing  –  verbal punch in the face; blatantly ignores scripture’s call to build one another up.
  • Jealousy  –  says “I deserve better than you” or “I know better than God.”
  • Grumbling and Complaining  –  hard to please; critical spirit
  • Cynicism  –  self-righteous posture looking down on others; “I am smarter than you are” mentality that looks down on any thought or idea different from their own.
  • Indifference  –  uncaring towards others; apathetic     (Welch, Ed T. “The Madness of Anger” CCEF Journal of Biblical Counseling)

Of all these faces of anger, the one I most identify with is grumbling and complaining. I’ve often cloaked my excuse like this, “I complain because I’m a glass-half-empty-kind-of-girl.” Oh really? Um…No. Doesn’t fly with Jesus. I don’t get to pull out the ‘I’m wired this way’ card. See scripture says I’m to do everything without grumbling and complaining (Phil. 2:14). That doesn’t mean I hunker down and try harder not to complain or grumble. I will fail. Miserably. No, what it means is that because I have the living Christ inside me I have been given everything I need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3) and that includes responding to life with an attitude of thankfulness and acceptance not moaning and groaning.

Please hear me. I’m not saying we should just be all happy-clappy-Christians-and-life-will-be-great-and-wonderful. I am saying that when we are faced with the opportunity to grumble or complain, we also have the chance to respond with thankfulness and humility-like Christ did.

And by the way, if grumbling and complaining is anger that is masked then perhaps I need to figure out the root of my anger. If you are thinking, “Yes, that’s a really great idea!” I have one word for you: SIN. Sin is the root of my anger. Plain and simple. Sin is me wanting my way and believing God is holding out on me. Sin is being focused entirely on me, myself, and I. Sin wants what it wants when it wants it. And I’m eaten up with the stuff and so are you.

So what are we to do? It’s pretty simple really. Scripture teaches us over and over: repent and believe. Repent. Godly sorrow comes to mind. Godly sorrow brings repentance. Brokenness. Repent means to change your mind and think differently. When I agree with God about my sin, I am demonstrating my desire to be under his lordship. I am saying goodbye to my self will (for the moment anyway).

The second part of the command is to believe. Believe that God is who he says he is and he did what he said he did and he’s coming back to get me. Believe that all of his promises are true. Notice I didn’t say beat-myself-up-until-I-can’t-see-straight. Paul reminds us in Romans 8, “There is therefore no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.” Beating myself up just keeps me locked in the problem and focused back entirely on myself again. It’s healthy and right for me to experience sorrow and remorse over my sin. That is what draws me back to Christ. When I see the reality of my sin I am moved to run to the arms of the only one who can pardon me-Jesus.

Let’s all repent of our anger, believe, and moveth on.

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