Sunday, May 12, 2013
It's something we all feel at some point. The pure anger we feel when someone we love is wronged or threatened. Sometimes anger is justified and needed. It fuels us forward to do what is right.
Sometimes it's not. That's the dangerous kind of anger. The one that gives the devil the foothold we are warned about in Ephesians 4:26-27 "Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life."(Message).
I'm guilty of it. The anger about why things aren't going the way they're supposed to. The frustration when it seems God is not following "our" plan. These are some of the questions I find myself asking myself - since I have the most sympathy for me:
"Why did this happen to me?"
"Why can't I do that?"
"Why am I being punished, overlooked, hurt?"
"Why don't I matter in the scheme of things?"
Sadly I confess it's been a really hard struggle for me lately. There are things going on in my life right now that are so far outside what I would've ever considered "my path" that I feel some days like I am choking on the anger they can stir. I just had one of those days recently and for the first time in awhile once my house was quiet I went to Bible Gateway to see what the Bible says about anger. Instead of wallowing and ignoring I choose to go to the handbook God's left me here on Earth to get through these things.
You see I thought anger was by itself bad. It's one of those words you whisper but not to anyone that might think poorly of you. Heaven forbid anyone realize I have real things going on and have real emotions about them. Oh what a scandal to find out that I am a God-Fearing, Loved-by-God in spite of it, human being. Thankfully some of the first verses God showed me were about being angry but not letting it control you or make decisions for you. That sometimes in anger you need to just stop and meditate on the Lord, and be still. (Psalm 4:4 NKJV)
I am ashamed of my anger. It's like a poison. I have ignored it so long that now I can get angry at being angry. There are layers to peel away and I am working on them one by one. What I am now doing different is asking God to show me the things I am ignoring. That's such a scary request but nonetheless necessary. There are things I know I've intentionally blocked and I've gotten so good at ignoring/blocking them for so long that now that as the ice is cracking, and things are bubbling up, my mind is terrified of what's beneath because in all sincerity I don't remember it all. I just remember that I don't want to remember, to own up, to admit those things that were to painful for me to sort out at the time. It was easier for me to turn on my "Happy Christian" smile and do some standard Christian phrases:
"It's in God's Hands"
"God's will be done"
"I know God has a plan and a purpose for me"
All of them true but not heartfelt at the time. Rather than face up and say, " I am mad. I am angry. I don't know how to handle it. I don't know how to be mad about this. This is not fair and I am mad and I am stuck in this angry place and I have no idea why God has allowed this to happen to me. I was being such a good Christian."
I am realizing that right now to some extent the anger is protecting me. I can't keep it there forever. It's a cancer that I need to be taking steps to remove. I am. If I were to remove it all at once though, if I even had that ability, it would be like ripping off the bandages of a life-threatening wound. It would leave me too raw and defenseless. To some extent by peeling off 1 layer at a time I am allowing myself to prepare for what's coming next. Allowing myself a moment to realize that peeling off the last layer may have stung a bit but it didn't kill me.
So..."Is Angry ok?"
I think so. Sometimes it's necessary... a protective shield to help us sort out the things we can't all at once. I can honestly say I know God is with me. Psalm 118:6 tells me, "The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?" NKJV God is in my corner. He knew this was coming and has put things in place to help me through. I will not lash out in anger, I will not allow this to control my life and I will not allow myself to hide because of it. I will face it, come out stronger, more self assured and closer to the Lord.
So I ask you this question: How do you handle your anger?