Have you ever felt like you needed to write a blog posting to your own self? That’s where I am this morning. I need to write this to me, but you are welcome to look on. If it speaks to you, praise God that the Holy Spirit spoke to you through Him, not me.
On the night before He died, Jesus commanded his disciples, a mixed group of mismatched ideals, to follow one overarching rule:
John 13:34-35 (NLT)
34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.
35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
This is a struggle for me, a pig-headed Irishman.
A quick search of Biblegateway.com reveals that there are 325 uses of the word “angry” in the new living translation. One Bible hero, King David is a serial offender in the grips of the sin of anger. It doesn’t escape me that I am his namesake, as was my Baptist preacher grandfather. I might come by my capacity for anger honestly, but it certainly isn’t honorable. I hope I can learn from Jesus, and not from David. I really must learn to love my enemies, those who might attack me, and those who say things I think are wrong or mean-spirited. This is especially true as I look inside the Body of Christ.
It’s an interesting battlefield that emerges as we look at David. He regularly displays anger, and regularly appears to learn the lesson. Let’s look at some Scripture:
When transporting the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem, the servant Uzzah stumbled, touched the Ark, and was killed by God. David’s reaction is recorded for all time:
1 Chronicles 13:11 (NLT)
11 David was angry because the LORD’s anger had burst out against Uzzah. He named that place Perez-uzzah (which means “to burst out against Uzzah”), as it is still called today.
This same king was convicted of his anger, time after time. The message was entering his heart, but David struggled mightily to translate the message into actions in his mind, and body. At the rebellion of his son Absalom, David writes:
Psalm 4:4 (NLT)
4 Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent.
When anger enters the Body of Christ through one of its members, and I realize I am one of those members, it is injurious to the entire mission of the Greatest Commandment and the Great Commission. I see so many wonderful members of His body, called to do unique things that are both different, and similar, to the callings I have. Still, in my understanding, I can misunderstand their reading of Scripture. I can certainly misunderstand parts of their calling that differ from my calling.
Likewise, others will attack what they misunderstand of my calling. My brothers and sisters are just as capable of the sin of anger as I am. Bearing that in mind, I realize that the only way I can properly respond to those who express anger toward me is to seek to have the Mind of Christ. Paul writes to the church in Philippi:
Philippians 2:1-5 (ESV)
1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy,
2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.
3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,
My prayer is that I am mindful of this post. This one is for me to read back to myself. You are welcome to look in, and to participate… we’re all welcome at His table. Let’s praise the One who loves us, so we can learn to love each other.
1 Peter 3:8-9 (NLT)
8 Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.
9 Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it.