I’ve always and forever had a problem with anger. It has consistently been an intruder in my life and far too often caused me to turn a good day into a bad day or a bad day into a failure of epic proportions. If I try to count the times that anger has made any situation better in my life, I have to count no higher than “zero”.
I not only became angry way too much but I lived angry. So, when I didn’t get my way, I went from zero to enraged in nanoseconds. Needless to say, people didn’t like me very much. I know some still don’t like me but it generally isn’t because I am the angry jerk I used to be all the time.
I still get angry but it passes and I don’t make nearly the number of terrible decisions that anger seems to lead me to make.
Anger in itself can be a huge problem but anger that is allowed to eat away at me seems to devour my faith, hope and love. When those things erode in my life, another ugly monster appears.
That monster is hate. I can let my anger push me into hating those that make me angry.
There is no way to deal with hate other than confronting it in my life. I can often find ways to logically justify hating someone but when I do so, I am refusing to be like Christ. When I refuse to bear the image of Christ and reflect his love, I sin. My hate is wrong. Always.
I have often simply denied that I have hate in my heart. But denial doesn’t eliminate the problem, it hides it until it becomes so large that it goes out of control. It is best to swallow my pride and admit what I would rather hide, pull it up by the roots and replace it with faith, hope and love.
1 John 4:19 We love each other because he loved us first.
I have to make a decision to love. I have to have a good reason to love. My past, with all of its failures and foul-ups, my life with all of its flaws, has shown me the supernatural power of God to love me unconditionally. That is my reason to reject hate and love.
When hate and anger rule my life, there is no room for peace. I can blame others for stealing my peace but it is me that trades it for things that bring turmoil into my life.
1 John 4:9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.
Love takes that tightness in my chest away, it takes the anxiety from the fear of the things that anger me away. It pushes out hate and wraps my life in peace. So instead of looking for excuses to avoid loving others, I need to embrace the opportunities and enrich my life as well as theirs.