Elul 24 Anger and taking offense “Unfair”..”rude” ran through my head...a lady snapped at me recently...by her comments she had clearly heard something other than what I said...but man was she hot! The question she fired at me wasn’t even on the topic I had just talked about, so it took me off guard and was a bit confusing as I tried to figure out how she got to the comments she made. We were in a group and so I had to wait until the bible study was over to even talk to her. Meanwhile I had to take the thoughts whirling in my mind captive or I would miss all the good conversations and comments. After I got over thinking, “What in the world?” I said “Lord, have mercy on both of us.” Then I said to myself, “I will not take offense...she is my sister in Christ.” I find it interesting that I had to take my thoughts captive multiple times as I was tempted to pick up anger and shame at being admonished in front of a group. Even as I went to bed that night I was given another opportunity to shut down temptation. Our minds can be like a video loop when trauma hits us and it will replay over and over again unless we actively seek to stop it. This is why I think the scripture admonishes us to be slow to anger and it is to God’s glory to overlook an offense. It tells us to not take to heart what others say because we must remember that we, too, have spoken rashly and without proper thought as well. Anger divides and can tear relationships apart. We know from experience that an offended person is unyielding. Their mission is to protect themselves and their reputation at all costs. God desires peace and unity in the body. But this is difficult to achieve unless we are learning to control our emotions with the help of the Holy Spirit. Anger can definitely be a habit we get into if we nurse it and baby ourselves. It takes great courage, strength and humility to deny ourselves the pleasure of anger. I usually have to step back and look at the bigger picture. And, as always, evaluate the situation before unloading. My goal this year is to ask “good and better” questions to try and gain understanding when someone is mad. Sometimes it is clearly just a misunderstanding that needs cleared up. We can use anger in our relationships to gain new understandings of ourselves, the other party and our interactions…..It can be an indicator light for unresolved trauma that we need to deal with. Righteous anger can be the impetus that finally fuels us into action to right wrongs and bring justice to situations. How often are you getting angry? What things seem to trigger your anger? How are you resolving your anger? How quickly are you able to let it go? Are you able to come to peace in relationships as far as it depends upon you? Fear often makes us angry...what are you most fearful of in your relationships? Are you angry with God about something? Today is the day to begin forgiving and letting go….taking steps to resolve issues that are hindering your relationships from peace.
Follow the season of Teshuvah during this Month of Elul with Guest blogger Denise Dee Lytle Gibbs who originally posted these blogs on her Facebook page Fall Feast Prayer Initiative.