|Get Mad! But Don't Get Even|
Sometimes Christians can be an exceedingly unrealistic people. People are emotional being and yet Christians seem to think that those emotions are either sinful or non-existent.
Anger is a good example. If you get mad at another Christian there are plenty of those folks who perpetually live on a "higher plain" than the rest of us who will upbraid you for being so sinful as to lose your temper. (i.e. Your emotions are sinful) To keep from being accused of sinning we run to the false defense that, "It isn't anger, it's righteous indignation." Therefore your emotions have ceased to exist and your anger is really God's anger.
Now that you're being angry for God you have the right to say or do anything, no matter who gets hurt. After all, if the person that you're angry with gets hurt, they deserve it for making "God" in you angry.
Why don't we "get real?" The Bible never said that we weren't allowed to get angry. It simply said that we aren't allowed to get even with the person that made us mad.
I love the Bible. It is the perfect Book. It tells us everything and in telling us everything it even tells us how to be angry. In 1 Corinthians 14:20 we are told how to be angry with each other. It says, "Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men."
There is the answer! There really are times that we should "act like children." So watch two kids who get angry at each other while playing and you'll see an object lesson for you to follow.
The first thing the kids do when they get angry is to claim that they are both right. (You've got it down so far. Haven't you?)
But did you ever notice that kids don't spend much time, 'Tell'em off."'?
Instead they say something like this. "I'm not going to play with you anymore!" (We adults put it this way, "I'm never going to speak to them anymore.")
But now comes the part that is completely unique to kids. Within about thirty minutes after being mad at each other and saying they will never play with each other again, they're playing together again!
The secret is twofold. First, kids realize that it is impossible to stay mad forever. Adults, when they feel their anger waning, conjure up more angry thoughts about their opponent so they can stay mad.
But the greatest child-like attribute is that these two kids go back to playing with each other without either requiring an apology from the other. (Unless some well-meaning adult forced one on them.)
We adults have an unbiblical fixation with public apologies. There is not one case of anyone publicly apologizing to anyone else in Scripture. So where does that stupid teaching come from? Somebody's philosophical teaching on how to deal with anger. Then someone took what may be good advice and made it a doctrine! (Kids aren't interested in being doctrinally correct. They're interested in playing.)
But we adults simply want our adversary to grovel and we try to use a public apology as leverage to allow them to be "right with God" again. If they refuse we...Kill'em in the name of God!
Try this the next time your find yourself angry with a brother or sister in Christ:
- Get away from them so you don't say something that will only make matters worse.
- Go somewhere and be mad. But don't contact mutual friends and complain or vilify the person you're mad at. Don't get on your phone and rip their throat out "in Christian love" hoping to force them to admit you're right or punish them for being wrong.
- Don't count your anger as either sinful or righteous. Count it as normal!
- The fourth step will take care of itself. Somewhere down the line you will feel your anger die down. Don't try to renew the anger with griping and back biting.
- Without them ever apologizing, forgive that other person in your heart. Not publicly! Don't walk up and say, "I've forgiven you for being such a jerk last week." Simply put the occasion that made you angry away in your heart. Don't expect or demand and apology.
- Treat that person like you always have. (Go back to "playing with em.") Remember! They are your brother or sister in Christ and should receive more grace from you than you would give a lost person.
Kids do get mad, they just don't even. And "in malice" is one place where God definitely wants us to stay young forever.
So why don't you quit "guilt tripping" yourself for your anger and quit deifying yourself for it also. Simply deal with it and then let it pass into history where it belongs. Then get back to enjoying fellowship with your (dirty, rotten, low down, stinking) beloved Christian brother.
Disagree with me on this? Fine! Get mad...but don't get even.