Anger

AngerAnger. It’s a peculiar yet predictable emotion. It begins
as a drop of water. An irritant. A frustration. Nothing big, just an
aggravation. Someone gets your parking place. Someone pulls in front of you on
the freeway. A waitress is slow and you are in a hurry. The toast burns. Drops
of water. Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip.

Yet, get enough of these seemingly innocent drops of anger
and before long you’ve got a bucket full of rage. Walking revenge. Blind
bitterness. Unharnessed hatred. We trust no one and bare our teeth at anyone
who gets near. We become walking time bombs that, given just the right tension
and fear, could explode.

Yet, what do we do? We can’t deny that our anger exists.
How do we harness it? A good option is found in Luke 23:34. Here, Jesus speaks
about the mob that killed him. “‘Father forgive them, for they do not know what
they are doing.’”

Look carefully. It’s as if Jesus considered this
bloodthirsty, death-hungry crowd not as murderers, but as victims. It’s as if
he saw in their faces not hatred but confusion. It’s as if he regarded them not
as a militant mob but, as he put it, as “sheep without a shepherd.”

“They don’t know what they are doing.”

And when you think about it, they didn’t. They hadn’t the
faintest idea what they were doing. They were a stir-crazy mob, mad at
something they couldn’t see so they took it out on, of all people, God. But
they didn’t know what they were doing.

And for the most part, neither do we. We are still, as
much as we hate to admit it, shepherdless sheep. All we know is that we were
born out of one eternity and are frighteningly close to another. We play tag
with the fuzzy realities of death and pain. We can’t answer our own questions
about love and hurt. We can’t solve the riddle of aging. We don’t know how to
heal our own bodies or get along with our own mates. We can’t keep ourselves
out of war. We can’t even keep ourselves fed.

Paul spoke for humanity when he confessed, “I do not know
what I am doing.” (Romans 7:15, author’s paraphrase.)

Now, I know that doesn’t justify anything. That doesn’t
justify hit-and-run drivers or kiddie-porn peddlers or heroin dealers. But it
does help explain why they do the miserable things they do.

My point is this: Uncontrolled anger won’t better
our world, but sympathetic understanding will. Once we see the world and
ourselves for what we are, we can help. Once we understand ourselves we begin
to operate not from a posture of anger but of compassion and concern. We look
at the world not with bitter frowns but with extended hands. We realize that
the lights are out and a lot of people are stumbling in the darkness. So we
light candles.

by Max Lucado

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