It is Not Easily Angered

The lake is absolutely still this morning

Not a single boat disturbing the surface

A single duck floats by

Looking serene

But I know she is paddling beneath the surface of the water

You can’t tell except for the fact

That she is moving forward at such a good clip

I want to be like that duck

Floating serenely through life

The frenetic activity below the surface of the water

Keeping me moving forward

My pace not effecting my peace

I’ve thought about anger before more than once

It has gotten me into trouble on a few occasions

I do not think I am an angry person

I have known those

My anger is a slow burn

Building over months and years

But not pretty when it comes to the surface

I have known angry people

Whose knee jerk reaction to every slight and every inconvenience

Is anger

That is not my particular struggle

But anger is still an unwelcome acquaintance

Like a weed that keeps coming back up even after it has been pulled out

I find it interesting

God did not say not to BE angry

He did not even say love is not angry

He said love is not easily angered

And in another Scripture, in your anger, do not sin

And that is the trouble really

In our anger we are prone to sin

To lash out at another person

Unloading on them a fury they do not deserve

I have been angry about “good things”

What I mean is that they are things that matter

Injustices that should make me angry

Abortion makes me angry

How a mother could possibly rationalize

Killing her own child

Completely beyond me

Politicians sometimes make me angry

Especially when they pander

To the lowest common denominator

People who thoughtlessly or intentionally

Hurt my children

Or any children

Make me angry

Jesus showed anger

He overturned tables in the temple

Called the Pharisees a brood of vipers

But his anger was born out of zeal for his Father

How holiness was being corrupted

The temple itself turned into a flea market

The problem with looking at Jesus as an example

Is that I don’t believe man is capable

Of a truly righteous anger

Our anger almost always tarnished with self

With a rage and a fury

That is less often about God and more often about us

Something we value being threatened

Love is not easily angered

I think back to the times I have expressed anger

Usually out of frustration that another person

Seemed incapable of seeing something

From my point of view

Seeking to be understood

And lashing out in anger

When another because of their own agenda or blindspots

Cannot see past their own perspective

But love is patient and kind.

It waits.

Rather than waiting for the other person to understand

Waiting until I am calm enough

To present a reasoned case

Much like a gardener waits for something to grow

You can’t make it grow faster by pulling on a healthy plant

That only hurts the roots destroying the plant

I have at times responded in anger

But it has always left me with regret

Later

When we act in love instead of anger

The way love is described in I Corinthians

We have nothing to regret later

Love waits because love is patient

Love cares more about the other person

Than my position

Because love is kind

And love carries no regrets

Because love does not respond in anger

I can always tell

When my marriage needs more attention than it is getting

When we are both quick to snap at each other

I know all too well that feeling of bewilderment

What did I say?  What did I do?

To warrant an angry response

But I know because I’ve done it too

The unleashed emotions

Having sat there too long

They build like steam

And there is no way to escape their release

Even with the smallest of transgressions

I read recently we are meant to feel our emotions

And then surrender them to God

Like a tea kettle

Allowing all that steam to escape into the air

Instead of into another person

Why am I feeling this, God?

Where is this coming from?

More often than not there is some selfish desire

Some unmet hope

I need to surrender

Sometimes there is reason for anger

And actions should be taken

Once the steam has dissipated

So that there is nothing left to scald the other person

Sometimes my anger

Is really a lack of courage

Afraid to face the hard thing

I’d rather sit on my anger

Pretending it’s not there

Allowing it to build

Lay aside fear

Have courage to face the hard emotions

The uncomfortable truths

Ask God to reveal the blind spots

Trust in Him for the outcome

For He is slow to anger

And abounding in love

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