Wednesday, June 21, 2006

anger, part 2

So, I thought long and hard about being angry. Why do I feel it bubbling just under the surface more often than not? Why do I let myself become bitter? Why do I have such a hard time with forgiveness?

I think part of the reason could be that my first encounter with an overwhelming anger occured before I'd even reached my teenage years, due to circumstances beyond my control. So helplessness, combined with anger, seems to have produced a very nasty chain reaction...I've never known quite how to deal with the painful things of life. So, here I am, in my mid-twenties, wondering when I'll finally lose that last screw holding it all together.

It's not really the anger that I'm so angry with, it's always how I choose to deal with it. I'm more angry with myself than anyone or anything. I've talked myself out of being angry with God, and the people and things that have hurt me throughout the years are just people, just things. Hurt happens. Ultimately, they can't be "blamed." I am only responsible for myself. So, I can definitely blame me.

And, it must be my spirit piping up..."there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus..."


Blogger BruceD said...

Obviously, we don't know each other, so I can't pretend to imagine what you're going through with anger. But, I can share with you what I went through. It is quite radical though, and you may not agree with the premise. I won't be offended if you see things differently. This is just about me.

I used to be quite angry... almost continuously. When I wasn't visibly angry, it was just under the surface waiting for the right moment to explode out of me into a fit of rage. I wasn't really ever "violent" in a physical way, but I know my bitter heart hurt people all around me in very real emotional ways. I was this way most of my life (I'm 52). Then, a couple years ago, someone started telling me about their view of God. They had what I thought was a strange way of viewing God. But, more importantly, they explained to me how they thought that all people were molded into their image of God. Whoever God was to them, is what they would become.

They helped me understand what my perception of God was, and I had to agree with them. Like many participants in traditional christianity, I saw God as loving, but angry. He was loving, but impatient. He was loving, but expectant. He was loving, but willing to condemn. My view of God, was exactly what I became. He helped me understand how important theology was in our lives.

And what changed me? My friend showed me the reasons for what he believed about God. And everything he said made perfect sense. And what was his view of God?

God is love. Period.

My life changed drastically in a very short time. Anger became a thing of the past. The sun began shining again. The air smelled sweet, and the ground became soft.

Of course most traditional believers, like myself at the time, find it very difficult to allow ourselves to believe that God is not angry with us, or impatient with us, or willing to condemn us for falling short of His expectations.

For believing this, I've been called "crazy" and "heretic" and "stupid". But, you know what? I don't care. I am, for the first time in my life, at peace with God, and free to enjoy life with Him. And it's not because of something I've done... it is simply by coming to an understanding about the true nature of God. He revealed His love to me through the work of the cross, and that is now my focus. And because of WHAT HE DID, I am changed, and settled, and happy.

The power of love is so often underestimated by the church. They preach a gospel of forgiveness based on OUR EFFORTS, and whether or not we can follow God's rules, and measure up to His expectations. The only thing that creates in our lives is doubt... and guilt. No wonder we're so angry. We are told that if we're to have a chance with God, we have to PUSH ourselves onto Him. But the gospel of grace reveals the loving heart of our Creator, and when we can understand how great that love is, we find ourselves uncontrollably DRAWN to it. It's not our choice, it's a natural respond to an overwhelming love.

For me, that has been the cure for anger, and in fact the cure for everything!


7:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good insight, Bruce. I'm glad that this loving view of God has given you a measure of "transformation" that sticks.

Sometimes, however (not trying to be devil's advocate here...), it can become quite frustrating when, although we trust that God is love, that we have a hard time understanding why His love doesn't just overflow from within us...where He lives.

Sometimes we see a sharp contrast between our image of God, or rather our knowledge of God's character, and our own image and character.

That being said, I offer a hearty "Amen!" to what you have shared with our sister.

In spite of our "imbalances, weakness', flaws or whatever we choose to call them, God is Love.

10:49 AM  

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