Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Stranger to Anger

I am SO not accustomed to experiencing anger.

Usually, when I'm going through an icky situation I feel hurt, sad, depressed, or annoyed.
OR, all of the above. 
I'll sulk, cry, whine, cry, go back to bed, and cry. 
Did I mention I cry a lot?! 

Anyway, this weekend I found myself in one of these "icky situations" - nothing catastrophic happened, but definitely something that I was justifiably bothered by... and all of a sudden this strange emotion hit me... 

For the first time in I don't know HOW long, my first reaction wasn't to cry. 
It wasn't to snuggle up in a ball at the bottom of my closet... 
...hey, don't knock it 'til you've tried it. 

I was calm for a second or two, and then I felt a strange sick feeling bubble up from my stomach all the way to my brain... and I yelled. And cursed, and yelled some more, and said a bunch of things that I don't even remember because I was just so...Angry! 

The worst part about it is that this feeling hasn't gone away yet. Sure, it's quelled some from when I first felt that minor explosion, and I'm not completely clouded by it like I was those first few hours. I forget about it for a little while. Then I see/hear something that reminds me of it, and I feel that bubbling feeling starting again and UGH! There that pesky anger is again. 

Well apparently, God doesn't like anger either. 

No, really! He doesn't! Even if it's justified! Look:

Colossians 3:8-10

"But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him."

He couldn't be any more clear, could He?

...So basically, I was supposed to just endure this situation, one that I didn't cause, I was not to blame for, and I had no responsibility for... and NOT flip out?

Yup. Exactly.

That's a tough pill to swallow. Instead of my anger being "justified" like I thought maybe it was, I see now that I fought someone else's sin with a sin of my own. I had/have an opportunity to exemplify God's influence in my life, and I let it slip through my fingers.

Heavenly Father, please take away this anger that the I let Satan instill in me. Help me to get through these types of situations in a way that glorifies you. Use me through my conduct and self-control as an example to others, Lord, so that they may see You and Your ways in my reactions. Forgive me for letting this anger pulse through me for a few days, hours, minutes or even seconds too long. Help me to address the roots of the problem rather than letting that anger bubble up in my body, Lord. Thank you for guiding me through Your Word. Amen.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

"and their foolish hearts were darkened."

This has been a pretty sucky kind of a rough weekend for me. I don't know what you guys do when you have days (or weekends or weeks or months) like this, but lately I've been finding myself opening up a book of the Bible and just kind of reading through it. Not necessarily for answers, mostly for a distraction from Above - but every time I do this, God brings me to a verse (or in this case, passage) that He needs me to see.

Last night, while lying in bed stressing out at 2 a.m., He brought me here:

Romans 1:21-26; 28-32

"21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions...

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them."


It's such a sad story, don't you think? Like a horror-story of what can happen to your life when you turn away from God.

These people who knew God - knew all of the great things that He had done and could do - basically turned their backs on Him and ran around doing whatever they wanted. Since He gave us free will, he had to let them go, straight down the rabbit hole into a life of unrighteousness and all that that entails.

Of course, those of us who are Christians know the end of this story - that we have a merciful God who forgives us and takes us back in His arms the moment we repent. But still... imagine how sad that must make our Father? 

A part that especially hit me was the last verse: "not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them." Do any of you hang out with friends who do a lot of terrible things may not have the same standards as you, but you somehow think "as long as I'm not actually DOING x, y, or z like my friend, I'm okay?" Verses like Romans 1:32 convince me that somehow, this isn't okay either. I know that in order to be a good testimony we must coexist with the rest of the world, but maybe we should try to separate ourselves from certain situations, lest we be tempted by or associated with them. 

I wonder - does this passage stir the same thoughts in you all as it did in me last night? Leave a comment and let me know what you think! 

Thank you Lord, for always leading me to the messages You want me to hear. Continue to stir in me a desire to serve You above all, no matter the earthly sacrifices this might entail. Give me the courage to walk through this world and turn away from the things that I'm learning You abhor. Cultivate in me the wisdom to recognize when a situation is not pleasing to You, Father. In your name I pray, Amen.