Burning Anger

by | Apr 16, 2024 | Vital Men Devotions

burning angerI concluded some time ago that I will almost certainly meet my demise in a fiery wreck of some sort. I can’t tell you the number of near-catastrophic crashes I’ve experienced in my car, on my bike, or on foot. These have ranged from rabid dogs to swerving cars, people making out in tunnels on the Oskaloosa bike trail (twice!), and innumerable reckless motorcycles. This year I was in a bad head-on collision, resulting in the totaling of my car, multiple hospital stays, a surgery, and some long-term health impacts. Eleven days after this accident I made my first journey out: a six block trip to pick-up some copies. THREE BLOCKS from my house our car was hit by a truck. Yes, my first trip out post-accident and I was in ANOTHER accident. My first thoughts after the impact were not of my personal condition, but those of burning anger towards the person who hit me. 

I’ll be honest: I was not initially the kindest person when I got out of the car. It didn’t help matters that my daughter informed the other drive I am a pastor, leading to fervent pleas of “pastor, forgive me and don’t call the police!” I’ve seldom been less willing to offer forgiveness as I was willing to  that day. However, I soon started being frustrated and angry at someone else: myself. Yes, that driver was in the wrong, and yes, I did have to call the police in order to submit my insurance claim, but it didn’t mean I needed to be burning with anger. I am very concerned that we live in a world where it has become normal, and seemingly right, to respond with a malicious burning anger if you feel wronged. Feel slighted in business? Write a vindictive review on social media. Wronged in a relationship? Do something even worse to the person who wronged you. If someone hurts us we feel justified in lashing back twice as hard. But, that’s not Jesus’ view.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” Matthew 5:38-42

Jesus’ response to the negative actions of others is to respond with love. Not only does he say let it go, but he says to turn towards them. Why on earth would Jesus tell us this? Because Jesus’ goal is to love and save EVERYONE, regardless of what they have done. Therefore, he tells us to burn with anger, but to demonstrate love and forgiveness. Now look, I’m not telling you to let evil and lawlessness happen. There are times to stand up for what is right. What I am encouraging is that when you have burning anger to quench it with God’s love and mercy. 

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