Someone I trust once told me “Victoria, be careful, anger is never the end.” What he meant was that anger is easy, and often a really good mask for what’s really going on.
Shhh. It’s time to listen. I think God is speaking.
I have documented assurance that the EA battle is over, so as each day goes by, I find anger draining out of my body. Those of you who read the previous post know that my little Christian preschool was the subject of some very real religious persecution. Not fair, not right, not OK in any sense of the word. But what’s really the issue here? Religious persecution has existed for millennia, I’m actually in some pretty lofty company.
Anger at God? Well, that’s pretty easy too. Chris didn’t do anything to deserve such suffering, and neither did I, or all these kids. But what’s really going on here? People get cancer and die. Families suffer, hundreds and hundred of you reading are feeling this ache with me right now.
Anger at friends who betray, deceive, when better paths are obvious? Everyone has experienced a betrayal, even Jesus. What’s really going on?
I am finding more and more that I just can’t keep anger up. I spent over a year being angry at the government, largely because they offended my overdeveloped sense of justice. It’s not supposed to be that way, in the land of the free.
I have spent two years being angry at God, because what God treats his faithful servants so brutally? I have found that the depth of what Christians call ‘sin’ is far more entrenched than I ever grasped. Remember the Lazarus story in John 11? The one about him being raised from the dead? Why do you suppose “Jesus wept” and the disciple John made such a point out of recording it?
I think now he wept for all of us. We were meant for better, and not to have lives that are ‘nasty, brutish and short’, as Thomas Hobbes put it. Jesus wept because of the utter brokenness of our bodies and situations. Who knows what kink in Chris’s body gave him that horrible disease? But Jesus wept, and that alone makes me feel less solitary.
Anger at friends? Someone today told me that being associated with a ‘need’ for friends is a pretty good guarantee of disappointment. Do I ‘want’ new friends? Sure. Do I want to be social, interact with other members of the tribe? You bet. But do I ‘need’ new friends and situations? Not really. Not enough to be so wounded when a woman chooses to end a friendship with me out of her own fearful need.
In the end, I find I don’t have the energy to keep it up. Perhaps that’s the burning bush here, what God is speaking to me. I wasn’t made for anger.
I like it, I like the feel of it, the taste of it, the rush of adrenaline I get when I am so clearly wronged. I like being the avenging angel, the wrathful goddess to set things right. I cherish my anger, I go to bed with it, and polish it, and keep it on display for others to see. I’ve made it part of me, like a prosthetic arm.
I don’t think Jesus cares much for that. I think it transforms people, and it’s transformed me. I don’t like that much. I am beginning to see that might be what he meant when he said ‘don’t let the sun go down on your anger.’
Remember when Jesus was healing on the Sabbath in a synagogue? (Luke 15) The leaders in the temple got pretty mad that he was ‘working’ on the Sabbath. The chapter says that Jesus was angry, but more in the context of grief. Sort of “You are my people! Why wouldn’t you be elated that I was healing on the Sabbath?”
Maybe that’s the kind of anger he wants me to have. Grieved that our government would act against the interests of the people. Grieved that a woman would abandon integrity, instead of abandoning selfishness.
Grieved that I, the owner of all this, would let anger have such a dwelling place in my heart. I think I’m done. I’d rather have peace.