After one of my kids was involved in an incident at church a couple weeks back, I realized that I've been growing increasingly irritated with my children. When they disobey, it's felt personal. Their childlike silliness has been driving me crazy and I've found myself withdrawing into my private shell, desperately desiring to escape from my "gifts."
While praying about what I was going to do about my children, I turned to the right and on the bookcase next to my comfy chair was this book, staring me full in the face:
You mean it's my problem? Yes, often God does need to be rather blunt with me! So these are the things I've been pondering, thanks to Robert Jones.
Puritan Richard Baxter defined anger as "the rising up in the heart in passionate displacency against an apprehended, evil, which would cross or hinder us of some desired good." This anger may be motivated by my circumstance but is not caused by it. Instead it is a heart reaction directly related to my beliefs about God.
I want to believe that my irritations are justified, but when comparing them to the offenses against and reactions of Christ, I've come to see that they do not qualify as righteous anger.
Righteous anger is marked by--
1. a reaction against actual sin rather than my own person irritations or thwarted desires
2. a focus on God and his concerns rather than me and mine
3. the coexistence of other godly qualities and Christ-like expressions
I'm only three chapters into it, but Uprooting Anger has me shaking in my boots, literally. When I started to feel prickled last night while trying to stretch very uncooperative pizza dough I had to humbly send my kids from the kitchen in order to "help mommy not react sinfully because it was already starting to bubble out of her heart."
This is hard stuff. I want to think I've got a reason to gripe and I don't like facing my own ugliness. I want it to be someone else's problem! But I know God in His mercy is trying to teach me something that's out there beyond my own selfishness. However, right now I have the feeling in my spirit that I had in my arms and legs when I first started working out again. I hardly have the strength to get out of the chair, let alone down the stairs!
So here's to exercise!
"Exercise thyself unto godliness: for bodily exercise is profitable for a little; but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life which now is, and of that which is to come." ~1 Timothy4:7b-8