Theme of the Week: Anger into Mercy
Bible Verse: “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” Galatians 5:13
Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13
There is a great danger to describe anger only as an emotion, that’s too passive. Anger is a reaction to something more profound. Explosive or subtle, it’s an action, nonetheless.
In his book Good and Angry: Redeeming Anger, Irritation, Complaining and Bitterness[mfn]Excerpt from Good and Angry: Redeeming Anger, Irritation, Complaining, and Bitterness David Powlison, New Growth Press. Used with permission.[/mfn], David Powlison shares this experience:
My wife Nan and I had just gotten our fussy two-year-old off to bed. Dinner dishes overflowed the sink. Toddler debris had turned the living room into a FEMA disaster site. A basket of clean laundry needed folding. Oblivious to it all, I sprawled full length on the couch to read the latest issue of National Geographic.
Nan walked in a few minutes later and said, “It sure would be nice to have some help cleaning up.” I lowered the magazine two inches closer to my face and buried my nose in my reading.
I realized, I’m angry, though I hadn’t said a word. But inside I was saying plenty: It’s been a long day. I need a break. If only she’d asked more nicely. I don’t feel like doing it now. We could do it tomorrow. Go away and don’t bother me.
Why is this happening to me? But amazingly, sanity also intruded: You’re angry. Love is patient, but you’re being impatient right now. Love is kind. You’re being unkind. Love gives. You’re being selfish. Your withdrawal is a form of hate. I was arrested by what is true, by words of God that he made personal. I came to my senses and got up.
Anger is the wrong kind when it becomes an act against others; it is a perpetrator and is antithetical to the Christian life. In Christ, we have freedom to choose how to react. Our anger calls for action. The Holy Spirit invades our hearts and minds with His sanity and also calls us to act but in a different direction – selfless love.
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