Testimony – When I began to consider my anger, I entered the conversation with a fair degree of confidence. I don’t get angry. My parents weren’t “inhibited” people. But people always say they must have been when I offer, “I never heard my father raise his voice… ever. I’ve never heard my mother yell.” My dad quoted John Wooden like the Bible, “There is never any excuse for not being a gentleman!”
It was sort of like, “You don’t hit a girl…” and “you don’t blame your emotions on your circumstance.” It just didn’t happen. I knew, by example, from my childhood, that I chose my emotions and how I directed them.
Now, my kids might tell you at workdays that I’m a liar about such things, but that is OK.
They are only learning what it takes to work aggressively… It is not that my dad, nor I, don’t feel anger. He simply never let it define his course of action. He chose his recompense wisely and would freely offer, “I promise, this is going to hurt you a lot more than it is going to hurt me!”
Now, what I can’t give you in writing is the tone. It always said, “I love you so much… I would never do this if I didn’t have to. This pain will be only for a little while, in fact, I choose this route because it clears the way for our fellowship the quickest. This is a little thing between us and nothing that would ever separate you from my love. Let’s get it over with ok? I am with you in this.”
Proverbs says, “a patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly. A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” Prov. 14:29, 30.
And if it is strength you want, “…better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.” Prov. 16:32. How about Proverbs 19:19? “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.”
Anger is always a secondary response. Do you have the capacity to absorb an offense? Really? Do you?
Because, it looks like you wish you did. You want to be that kind of person, but you honestly don’t have the resources. The storehouse of your emotional tank doesn’t equip you to make different choices. John Chrysostrom said, “He that is angry without cause sins, but he that is not angry when there is cause sins, for unreasonable patience is the hotbed of many vices.”
And that quote grabs me. “…unreasonable patience is the hotbed of many vices.”
OK, maybe I don’t get mad, but hotbed of many vices… hmmm… Could it be that part of my struggle to live a deeply obedient life is that I have not pursued the righteous cause of Christ??? I haven’t savored the beauty of His glory in anger?
It is a sin to never get angry. Slow to anger to be yeah, sure, but let yourself get really angry! Anger is a form of love. When you stop up that love with pretense or gloss of emotional indifference it will fester, disintegrate, corrupt and erode. That is when you have an explosion that makes people ask, “Why did she get so mad about that?”
The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love. He only responds to protect what he loves with pinpoint accuracy. He uses not one ounce more strength necessary than to discipline or protect. He never separates himself from those who call out to Him in their guilt or need. He always disciplines with the greatest hope of restoration.
Maybe it is time that the healing of your anger begins with your first, real, devotional life? Maybe, I need to start over and not merely credit my self for a lack of explosions, but seek out the hotbed of vices and from whence their headwaters really flow? Maybe there is an honest interaction with life on life’s terms that I’m missing.
I’m intent on finding that out.