Thursday, August 8, 2013

More Thoughts on Anger

"God said to Jonah, 
'Is it right for you to be angry?' "
Jonah 4:9

I had an interesting moment of introspection recently.  It came from a scrap of paper on a table in my living room.  I think the piece of paper had a phone number on the front, but it was on the table back side up, and what I had written there was an out-of-context Bible verse.

Sorry it's kinda blurry.  I took the picture with my phone, which is old-fashioned.  For a cellphone.  I didn't even want one with a camera but the Apple of my Eye made me. 

"Be angry and do not sin."  Ephesians 4:26.  It's a verse I'm very familiar with, and to be honest, one I'm comforted by. 

And I'm thinking it's a verse that many of you are familiar with, too.  The post I wrote on anger in 2011 is the second most popular post I've written on this blog.  A lot of people have stumbled on here because they were searching the words "rage", "anger" or "fury". 

That says something.

The reason this verse is comforting to me is because it gives me permission to be angry.  It tells me that it's okay, but that I need to be cautious with my actions when I'm angry.  Alright, that's something I can work on. 

And please don't think I'm a rageaholic.  I really only have reason to be mad about once or twice a month. 

{I confirmed that number with my Awesome Girl, 
in case I was seeing myself through rose-colored glasses.  
Which would be totally cool.}

But that's far more often than the Apple of my Eye, for instance.  He's just not of that temperament.  And I used to be a lot worse.  Starting about 12 years ago, I made a concentrated, prayerful effort to get less angry, less often.  And God blessed my efforts.

Nevertheless, I remain someone for whom anger is never far away.  It will probably always be that way.  And for that reason, I have occasionally thought that the command, "Be angry, and do not sin" is sort of unfair.

{Yes, I think it's unfair, 
even while I think it's comforting. 
I'm complex like that.}

What if a person cries too much?  What if they are too often apathetic about important things?  Where is the command to them to not sin, even while they're being how they are?

And all of a sudden, as I saw this piece of paper lying there on the table, with those six words staring at me, I saw encouragement, permission, and a warning.  Encouragement, in that God created me just this way, and He loves me perfectly.  Permission, in that He expects me to be who I am, without embarrassment, even if it means not being understood by others.  And a warning not to sin.

It was as if the verse said, "Be yourself, and do not sin."

It's for all of us.  Be shy, be bold, be extroverted, be introverted, be passionate, be low-key.... but in being who you are, do not sin. 

We have the potential, each of us, to be amazing at who we are.  Loving, serving, growing, and glorifying Him.  But even though I'm better at being me at anyone else could possibly be, I can't do it without His help. 

~ "If you do well, will you not be accepted?
And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door.
Its desire is for you, but you should rule over it." ~
Genesis 4:7

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