Monday, March 30, 2015

Celebrating Anger? 

The original title for this post was going to be “Celebrating Down Times”. Because I thought pretty much nothing happened on Monday through Wednesday of Holy Week. After all, the other days have names – Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, etc.  If anything of importance happened on Monday, it would have a name too, right?

Although the exact sequence of the events of Holy Week are not necessarily written in stone, it turns out that Monday is apparently the day that Jesus drove the moneychangers out of the Temple and also is the day that he cursed the fig tree.  So I guess if we were going to give Monday a name, it might be “Angry Monday”.

Uh. oh.

In case you’ve forgotten, I’m a people-pleasing good girl. I don’t do well with anger.

Don’t get me wrong – I feel anger. I just am not the greatest at complicated matters like expressing it appropriately or distinguishing between “righteous anger” and “unrighteous anger”. My anger, when it leaks out unexpectedly, tends to be in the form of snarky little comments (what a good friend of mine once affectionately dubbed “stealth anger”).  These comments are usually “innocent” enough that I can later claim “Oh, I was just kidding about that.”

Other times my anger shows up in a quiet resentment that causes me to sulk alone and throw a private pity party. Those moments are especially attractive (hopefully you can sense the sarcasm there).  

These forms of anger are really no less destructive than violent outbursts or verbal tantrums. In fact, in some ways they are more destructive because they are more insidious.

So where am I going with this? I’m not qualified to discuss the theological implications of Jesus’ righteous anger. Plus it’s not my jam. (I KNOW, I KNOW, I can’t pull that phrase off. I just threw it in there in the event that my teenager ever reads this. It will give her the opportunity to exhibit that adolescent "OMG, my Mom's trying to be cool" eye roll/shoulder shrug thing that they seem to derive some pleasure in offering up. J  (And, don’t get me wrong, I ADORE my teenager. And I think she kind of likes me, too. But we are not above the requisite eye roll/shoulder shrug thing).

I guess what I’m here to say, for myself and anyone else who can relate, is that I’m pretty much a mess when it comes to handling my anger. I’m really good at denying it, pacifying it, or quieting it, until it seeps out in some subtle, yet ugly, manner. In those moments, I come face to face with how inadequate and unworthy I am.

But in those moments when I am sure I am at my worst, when I am pretty sure Jesus is ready to write me off and turn His back on me, I find Him closer than ever. I feel Him not turning away, but , in fact, pursuing me. Meeting me in the mess. Reassuring me of His love. Offering me grace. Picking me up, dusting me off, and whispering that I can rest tonight in His mercy and start new again tomorrow.  The Cross and the Resurrection mean that I never, ever have to fear being the object of His anger.

So perhaps one of the reasons anger is reason to celebrate is because it reminds us that we are no longer the objects of it when we are in Christ.

There’s that, and there’s also the fact that when I see those snarky, subtle, ugly little signs of it in my life, it chases me to the One who can set me free.

Where would I be without Him? Where would I be without Easter?

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that's strong is what Gary said when we finished reading this together this morning. I know I don't deal well with anger. I caused some of the hardest days of my life when I released what I called my righteous anger. What a mess I made! Thanks for your insights!