Friday, April 9, 2010

Anger Belongs in the Garbage

Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God's righteousness doesn't grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.
James 1:19-20 (MSG)

Anger...anyone else struggle with this?  "Anyone"...ha...meaning do "you" struggle with it?  Of course "you" do!  Well, I've been a little angry today off-and-on for a while now.  I did get pretty angry today and knew in my spirit that I had to immediately deal with it.  I started off at just plugging in the word "anger" to see what the Word had to say about the subject.  (As though I didn't already know, but I needed a good reminder.)  The first few pages showed scripture after scripture that talked about God's anger.  "See, even God gets angry" was my first response...."good for me" I thought, "I've got a right to be angry.  He got so angry He left them, cursed them, punished them!"  

Well...I only made it to Numbers 14:18 before He smacked me in the back of the head with this scripture, "The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion..."  Man! I can't help but recognize how patient He is with my stubborn self.  He surely is abounding with love for me and is always quick to forgive my sins and rebellion.  Okay, so my anger has started simmering down a bit.  So I continue on...

After reading about not letting the sun go down on your anger and that anger sits in the laps of fools, I came across James 1:19-20 (in the Message bible, of course).  I love the way we are given an "order of operations" in the first part of this scripture.  First and foremost, LISTEN.  Second, be slow to speak. Meaning I need to process what I've heard and seen before I say a stinkin' word.  Then, let anger fall behind in irregular/scattered intervals.  Today I listened...but that's as far as I got...I started dropping the ball on step 2 and by step 3 I totally crashed and burned.  I went down in a flaming ball of anger.

I press on into verse 20...

My number one goal is to grow in righteousness and holiness.  This year, more than ever, my spirit has been crying out for more righteousness...more holiness.  But verse 20 clearly points out that the righteousness I seek is not going to grow out of my anger.  How counterproductive anger is in our lives!  I know that if I let it stay it will kill everything within me...all the ground I have conquered spiritually will be lost to a very unfair and unjust enemy. 

"...So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage..."  This anger within me stinks.  It's dead and rotting.  It's deadly in's cancerous evil.  Those are two words that we as humans do not like to hear..."evil" and "cancer".  Both of those words bring up a sense of fear, as they should.  Because as creations of God, we inherently recognize the seriousness of those two things...whether we've surrendered our lives to God or not.  We know that both only produce pain and death and they are not "of the Lord".  So James tells us to throw that anger in the's's not worth keeping.

I immediately thought of Oscar the Grouch...hence the picture.  Oscar lives in the garbage, he feeds on the garbage...therefore his heart, mind and mouth reflect garbage.  Not only do I need to throw my anger in the garbage can...I also need to make sure I don't jump in there with it and start "feasting" on it comes the great part...

"...In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life."

God wants to landscape me with His Word....making me a beautiful, life-giving garden of salvation.  I live with a landscaper.  I know the amazing things they can do with a simple plot of land.  They can take it from an abandoned, barren, heap of rocks to a gorgeous, well-designed piece of eye candy.  A place where people can relax and enjoy their surroundings.  Well, everytime I get angry I'm taking a rock or a piece of trash and throwing it right in the middle of God's beautiful garden.  Rocks cause damage.  They break things. They stop water and Son light from getting to the plants.  Therefore, they cause death.  Trash stinks.  It attracts rodents and bugs.  It will eventually turn the garden into a dump.  I hate it when people litter...I should remind myself of that the next time I litter God's garden with anger...or other sin. anger is gone...I can now go home...right after I go get that piece of trash out of God's garden...

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