August 19 - Ephesians 4:20-27

Monday, August 19, 2013

That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. 

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.

Anger is one of those things that I contend with regularly. I am angry at people who are critical of me or those whom I love. I get angry at things that seem unfair. I get angry at blatant stupidity of people who should know better. I get angry when I am slighted or ignored. I get angry when my stupid cat bites my hand. I get angry when people are so self-important they forget there are others in the world. I get angry when …

I know exactly where my volatile anger comes from. The only problem is that the one person who could match me word for word and gave me a reason for enjoying my anger died over 25 years ago.  Mom and I had some awesome fights. Not just arguments, but full-blown fights.  We’d get all heated about something and words would fly around the house. In one of our last melt-downs, my poor sister sat at the top of the stairs in tears as the Mom and I followed each other around saying awful things to each other. She was so afraid I would move out and leave the family and never return.

Mom and I knew that we needed to release all of the passion of the moment and within twenty minutes we were both asking forgiveness and clearing the air.  After she died, my anger had no healthy place to be released. There is no one else in the world who can function when I get that wound up and I've had to learn to temper it. Nothing good ever comes from me being angry. I've learned over and over again throughout my life that my anger causes a backlash that often creates more havoc than existed prior to my fit of temper.

That is my old self and though it shows up often, I have to recognize that it corrupts the core of who I am. I am a child of God – created to be like him in true righteousness and holiness.  When I let anger – even if it is just a momentary response to stupidity – control me, I become less of who I should be.