Anger: Diagnosing Our Hearts

Posted on March 11, 2016.
Self-reflection is a mark of God's people. Maybe you're like me but when I drive to familiar destination like work, I can put the car in gear and turn my mind off. Once I arrive at my destination, I have trouble remembering the trip. A life void of self-reflection is lot like that. Just moving through life on auto-pilot, never taking the time to reflect on what is going on around us or why we respond the way we do. We have our rhythms and schedules, and we move through them, at times, automatically. As difficult as it can be to remember to reflect on your day or even a conversation that just ended, how difficult is it to reflect in the midst of feeling something so intense as anger?
 
It comes on us in a surge during a conversation, after an email, at home, at work, with a co-worker, a boss, a friend, a spouse, a child, an eruption of hateful thoughts or hurtful words, even slammed doors among other things. Then, silence. The damage is done. How important between the moment we feel anger to the unleashing of that anger to take a moment to pause and reflect on the question: "Why am I angry?" or as Ryan put it this past Sunday, "What am I defending?"
 
Am I defending unmet expectations? Am I merely defending my wounded ego? Am I defending my lack of control over others or situations? These are hard questions to ask but they will reveal what we worship. For anger is our response when our object of worship comes under attack. What if instead we stepped away from the situation and addressed our anger instead? Admit your anger before God and to one another. Seek reconciliation by owning as much of the situation, even more than you probably deserve. Choose the way of love and forgiveness. These are not easy things, especially when our automatic reaction is to totally lose it. But, this is the way of the Kingdom of God. We won't do it perfectly the first time or even after 100 times, and there is grace for that. But, are we choosing to wrestle, by the Spirit's power, with our own sinful attacks on others? Are we choosing to walk the path of love?