Have you ever been angry?
I mean really, really angry?
I have, though fortunately not very often. But yes, there have been times when I have been white hot angry. Yesterday was one of those times.
The circumstances are not important. And I am no longer angry. Hurt, grieved, even confused, but not angry. And I’m so glad, because I didn’t like being angry very much.
As many of you know, I’m teaching James right now. We are still in the first chapter and haven’t gotten to the verse yet, but in James 1:18-19 it states:
James does not mince words. Ever. He’s pretty straight forward. And there is no need for explanation of this verse. “…the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” Unrighteous anger is sin. And I was sinful in my anger.
Why do we allow ourselves to get so spun up into anger over things?
My youngest gets angry easily. I have to really think how to word things around her in order to help her maintain an even keel manner as opposed to getting terribly angry and upset. Of course, her brothers don’t help any. But I’m trying to teach her that there are things to be angry at, and there are things that getting angry at does nothing but hurt her.
So when is anger right? I’ve given some thought to this today, and have come up with a couple of ideas. For instance, it angers me to think that so much of the world lives in extreme poverty and without knowing Christ as Savior. But then I thought–that anger is useless unless I act upon it. Therefore, I’m going to contact my friend SaraBeth, founder of 127worldwide, and ask for a child for our family to sponsor in Kenya at Tumaini, the orphanage I visited with Keli.
And I have good friends, who being angry at the conditions that many of America’s Foster children live in, decided to get into foster care themselves because they knew they could provide a loving, God centered home for children in dire need.
And I’ve recently met new friends whose anger over the lack of resources for children of incarcerated parents has led them to form The Messages Project–a fantastic program that provides taping of prisoners reading or talking to their children–particularly children who live to far away to visit very often.
I even know of a church who, “angry” over the lack of fresh vegetables for those in need, took part of their massive property and turned it into a large garden. They take the fresh vegetables to food closets and missions that feed the homeless.
I don’t say any of this to sound self-righteous. I certainly, certainly hope it doesn’t come across that way. No, I share with you because in my sinful anger yesterday I learned much. Much about having a contrite spirit before God. Much about the real-life living of James 1:19-20. And the need for anger that produces godly action.
I’m still upset with myself for getting so angry yesterday. And I’m also still hurt for being lied to, and confused. But I’m also grateful for a God who forgives as far as the East is from the West, and graciously teaches this stubborn, hard-headed, rebellious soul. And now I can’t wait to get a picture of our sponsor child, get to know him or her, and teach my children to give out of appreciation for all that has been given to my crew and I.