Anger…now that’s a tough one. Especially for me. And here’s another one…forgiveness. My mother always said I inherited those two nasty traits from my daddy’s side of the family. She was right. Never let it be said that the Stones ever backed away from a fight. And never let it be said that the Stones ever let the words, “well maybe I overreacted” fall out of their faces.
As a younger version of myself, I possessed that quick-to-anger thing. It didn’t take much to set me off. Not unlike my daddy. Fortunately, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve mellowed out quite a bit. But don’t ever mess with my family. Because if you do that Stone anger is gonna set fire to ya! Other than that, I’m a pretty no anger sorta girl.
The worst thing about anger…the impression it makes on our kids. They imitate what they see in adults. It ain’t pretty from where I sit.
My husband is a gold medalist when it comes to forgiveness. I so envy that. But I really do work hard at it. He’s been a great influence on me. I’ve mostly subscribed to the theory of “Burn me once, I’m done.” I’ve learned over the years to understand that I can never expect the Lord to forgive me if I don’t learn to forgive.
Paul speaks to the Church of Ephesus about being imitators of God. He tells them that imitations are a form of life. Because God gave us Jesus, the imitations we’ve done in the past must be put away so that now we can imitate God.
Our behavior must change. Especially toward each other. We need to aspire to put God’s love into action. First, we need to get real by putting away falsehoods. We can no longer put ourselves out there as something we are not. Remember in the Book of Genesis when Adam and Eve are naked in the Garden of Eden? There was no shame. Being who God made us to be carries no shame. He can help us to be authentic. He can help us get over the anger.
Next, we need to get a handle on anger.
It’s okay to be angry, but just don’t stay angry. Evil creeps in if we let our anger fester. Even Jesus got angry. Remember when He cleared the temple of the moneychangers? That was Jesus showing His zeal for God’s house by showing His anger.
So what do you do with your anger? When our anger is not corrected, it can cause great harm to others. When I think about that it brings to mind my cousin, Anthony. He was four years younger than me. He died at the age of twenty-two. I should say someone murdered him. It all began with anger. He was rebellious, dishonest, and a follower of those who led him down roads as parents we never wish to see our children walk down. Yet, his family loved him dearly. Thousands upon thousands of prayers went up on his behalf. I grew tired of it as I watched him do things I knew his mother never taught him. Things that broke her heart. But she never gave up on him. She prayed for him each day.
Now here’s the good stuff. A year before my cousin died, he gave his life to the Lord. He turned a hundred and eighty degrees and walked away from a life of destruction into a life of salvation. Plus he brought with him a friend or two. His life ended tragically at the hand of a man he knew. An angry man who knew my cousin only as he’d previously been. This man took it upon himself to end Anthony’s life. He shot him in the back three times as my cousin walked away to avoid a confrontation with this man. Anger…yes, it’s a tough one.
I’m not sure I’ve ever fully forgiven that man, but I’m working on it. At the news of Anthony’s death, I screamed at God in disbelief that He would allow this to happen at this time in Anthony’s life when he was clearly walking in the Word and getting closer to the Lord. It was a time of unrest for us all.
My Uncle Bennie came to our rescue with these words of reason. “It seems unfair that Anthony’s life would end now. But God does not make mistakes. He knows our beginning; He knows our end and everything in between. Anthony’s life was a rollercoaster, and although he was at the top of the ride, God knew this was the best time, maybe the only time, to call him home. He may not have made it there otherwise.” I cling to those words even now because in my heart I know them to be true. Forgiveness…yes, it can be a tough one.
What about work? Why do we work in the first place? How about so we don’t steal from others. Paul talks about this in our scripture. Through work, we can give to others. Our work can be a blessing to others as well. This is the purpose of work.
Paul speaks to our words and the fact that words do hurt. Let our mouth not become a serpent. Christians are called to something more than negativity. We are called to encourage others, to care for and be caring to those around us. It’s time to do what has to be done. How do we treat one another today? How do we live our lives? Do we build up or do we tear down? Being in the imitation game can be tricky. Who do you imitate?
Do they know you are Christian by your love?
And that’s what I learned in Church……see ya next time!