I’m pissed off today. Something at work has me riled up. It’s actually not that big a deal, but enough to set me off. When I get like this all the other little things piss me off, too, like not having No. 10 envelopes and stamps when I need them even though I just got back from the store. Grrr….
When I’m like this my dear wife always tries to calm me down, which is pretty much the wrong thing to do. I get that she wants me to stop swearing (bad thing I do when I get mad), and not take things out of proportion. But the whole, “You decide how you respond” rhetoric just annoys me more! Yes, I’m a joy to live with!
That said when I do calm down – which I always do – I remember that we are made in God’s image, but that our version is fallen and perverted. Here’s what I mean.
If you read scripture you will see God has plenty of emotion. He gets mad; He gets jealous; He grieves; He has joy; He loves; He enjoys pleasure; I even think He has a sense of humor. We are made in His image, which means we resemble Him perhaps not in our appearance, but in our intellect, volition (will), and emotions. In other words, we have the same emotions as God. So you may be asking yourself, “If God can be mad, or jealous, or upset why can’t I be mad, jealous, or upset?” Good question and here’s the answer: Unlike God whose emotions are completely holy, righteous, and pure, our emotions are not but instead are based on pride, fear, and other sinful impulses.
I’m ticked off today because I feel my integrity is being questioned. While that might sound like a righteous cause to defend it really is about my ego. That’s not saying I won’t defend my integrity – I will. But how I do it matters. My anger about the situation is not a healthy, godly anger, it’s a personal affront kind of anger that is not what God calls me to be in this moment. I think if I were sitting here talking with Jesus about it He’d tell me some parable about how to not take things so personally and act in a way that shows love while still holding to the principles in which I believe. Wow is that a hard thing to do when you just want to tell folks to pack sand!
For me, my anger triggers over justice issues, or more to the point when I see something I feel is unjust whether it be me or someone else. Those are the situations in which I don’t back down, turn the other cheek, or work to de-escalate. Instead, I respond aggressively, taking on all comers.
What triggers you? What type of stuff out there makes you mad, or jealous, or gives you pleasure from inappropriate sources? See we all are fallen, which means we all have emotional responses that while from God are perverted by our sin nature. Instead of acting them out in holiness and righteousness like God, we act them out in sin.
Believe me I have more than just injustice issues. And anger is just one of the emotions I struggle to bring under Christ’s control in my life. But it isn’t until I recognize that the emotions I am experiencing are not being displayed the way God would have me deal with them that I actually go to God and ask for His help. By then I’ve usually done some damage that I have to clean up. Doh! You would think I would have learned this by now given what I know, but it is SO hard to stop when you’re in the middle of it.
Luckily I haven’t done too much damage yet with this thing at work. I’d love to tear the place up on Monday, but instead I think I’ll spend the rest of the weekend talking with Jesus about it and see how he would like me to handle the emotions the Father has given me. How about you? Any emotions running amok in your life right now? If so, join me in taking a deep breath and turning to Jesus for some advice.