I often say that anger is a secondary emotion. We experience anger because we experience some other emotion first, whether good or bad, correct or incorrect. Likewise, actions are based on decisions we have made – the result of our thought processes – again – correct or incorrect. It isn’t always wrong, in other words, to be angry. One can think of many things that make us angry, and rightly so, like someone lying under oath in court. There are also times when anger is wrong, and we can probably think of more examples here. Like someone telling the truth in court…about us.
So, let’s think about the root of some of our behaviors and thought processes, so we can put a nail in them when wrong, and pursue them if correct.
Since we have been talking about anger, let’s start there. If anger is “having seconds”, that means something else comes first. Jesus experienced this:
Mk 3:3-6 And He (Jesus) said to the man who had the withered hand, “Step forward.” Then He said to them (Pharisees, and others who were watching), “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they kept silent. And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other. NKJV
Some people around Jesus would have held Him to a law they interpreted as meaning that no exertion of one’s self could occur on the Sabbath. Jesus knew God would never wait to heal someone based on the day of the week. It was hard heartedness for them to think so. He was angered by their disregard for this hurt soul, and because of the perverted way they chose to think about the situation, using it to try to hurt Him, while then leaving another in pain. So, Jesus’ first response was the wellbeing of another, and anger at those who put their own agendas before God’s agenda.
When we are set to respond in anger, we need to weigh our actions first. Is it appropriate to the problem, and based on God’s agenda, rather than our own, or someone else’s? If not, time to go to the bible and prayer matt, and find out how God wants us to handle things. That is not to say we leave things unresolved forever, but that we seek God’s Will for resolution, rather than exerting our own will outside of Holy Spirit’s guidance. I can tell you from personal failures, extended silence is not the answer. Neither, however, is immediate response when it takes on inappropriate expression.
What about rebellion? We see it mentioned in the bible all the time, as well as expressed in everyday life around us. We hear about it, and sometimes behave in that manner. But, rebellion is not a “first”. If you are participating in rebellion, you are “having seconds.” (As a review, the word often used for “heart” in the New Testament is “kardia”, which here (below) refers to the mind, understanding, or intelligence. In the Blue Letter Bible App on your phone, see word #G2588, or just tap on the verse, go to interlinear, and tap on the word you want to look up.)
Heb 3:7-14 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says:
“Today, if you will hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
In the day of trial in the wilderness,
Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me,
And saw My works forty years.
Therefore I was angry with that generation,
And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart,
And they have not known My ways.’
So I swore in My wrath,
‘They shall not enter My rest.'”
Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end…NKJV
Rebellion is unbelief; a result of hardening ourselves by regularly participating in sin, rather than repenting of it (believing God), which is a test for all of us. Do we choose to walk God’s Way, or to walk regularly in sinfulness, which will darken our understanding and lead us to embrace rebellion; defending our own bad choices?
Obedience can be a tough “second”, but is a beautiful expression of love. Yes, obedience comes from real love. The kind of love that puts God first, then others. An unexpected side effect of obedience is understanding. Understanding who God is, and what God is up to…even why. Participating (obeying) in the work of Jesus Christ, teaches us His Purposes. We can’t see the finish line if we don’t enter the race. From participation comes wisdom, and friendship with God. Wow!
Jn 14:21 “The person who knows my commandments and keeps them, that’s who loves me. And the person who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and make myself plain to him.” MESSAGE
I wish I could tell you that I am at the point of sleeping through a storm while in the bough of a boat, but I am not. I can tell you I find wonderment in the storm, and am much better at holding God’s Hand while watching the storm unfold than I used to be. Over time, God’s Peace is a place I have learned to seek, and I really enjoy hanging out with God in tough times, reading His Word, and looking forward to God showing me what was going on in that storm. When I have peace, it is second to turning away from the world’s interpretation of trouble, and reaching out to Holy Spirit for guidance, and companionship.
Jn 14:25-28 “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. NKJV
“Seconds” can be a good thing, or something to avoid – may God grant us wisdom to discern them, and courageous strength in our choices.
August 27, 2021