In my book ‘Praying Our Way Through Stress: Drawing Wisdom from the Lord’s Life and Prayer’ at the back I have a prayer about turning our angry hearts into a manger for the Lord’s love and word. The prayer is written in the shape of a cross.
Our society seems to take two stances on anger – either it is 100% unacceptable or it’s funny. The Lord doesn’t think there is anything funny about our anger nor does the Bible teach that anger is 100% unacceptable. In fact we are given permission to be angry along with an admonishment to not sin when we are angry.
Anger management is important. Learning how to discern what we are angry about is equally important because it helps us express our anger in more appropriate ways and can move us towards taking some constructive action.
Have you ever expressed anger towards God? It happens sometimes. I felt so ashamed after expressing anger with God that I had a difficult time forgiving myself.
A wonderful person came into my life and encouraged me to listen to Jesus speaking from the cross saying ‘My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?!’ with perhaps instead of a quiet whisper, more as a calling out of emotion that might have contained a little anger. When people seem to break their promises to us, when we feel abandoned by people we love don’t we experience a mix of emotion? And think about the crowd of angry people who had all misdirected their anger towards the one who came to save them all from sin. . . Jesus spoke to God – he expressed his emotion and people heard this and it was so important that it was written down for us to ponder. After expressing his anger, his fear, his doubt, his sense of abandonment what happened. Silence and then – he said ‘Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.’ There is a place in the Scriptures where Jesus talks about how people would not have known they were sinning if he hadn’t come and spoken to them. But it seems that sometimes, even in Jesus’ speaking some people do not hear what he is saying. This is why it’s important to keep sharing the stories about Jesus.
Now, God always knows what God is doing, but we don’t. We only know as Christians, that we want to be more like Jesus and feel comfortable talking with God in every circumstance and emotional state we find ourselves in. If we can stay connected to God through our anger we can pronounce a blessing instead of a curse.
I know we aren’t all the way to Good Friday or the remembrance of the crucifixion yet – but we are moving closer to Easter and we really won’t understand the true joy of a resurrected life or relationship with another person or God unless we focus on the cross and the events leading up to and through the crucifixion, where the iniquity of our sin was laid upon Jesus who asked God to forgive.