Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Words on Anger-For How To Get Unstuck From Its Ugly Consequences

MAD. {Have you ever been?}

There's a photo of a horse and then a reference to controlling our tongue. The member of our body that is hard to keep a tight reign on. {Does that resonate with you too?}

A horse compared to my tongue... A mighty powerful little thing, right?
{Photo courtesy of Wallpaper-me}

That large, enchanting and sometimes scary "beast" with the velvet-soft nose and often spunky spirit. And my tongue.

I was ten when Daddy said 'yes' to the horse for his pleading girls. Our neighbors had horses, and like many little girls, we dreamed dreams. Visions of having our own horses caused us to press our papa...Finally he gave in when the opportunity presented itself...

Flicka was actually a Welsh pony, but she was a bit larger than a typical pony. When you are ten, you don't want to say you rode a pony. I slung my foot over Flicka's back and planted my bottom on the saddle that very first time. It was with false confidence which reaped ugly consequences. 

My child-pride, it can't admit, "I don't know some things. Like how to stop a horse when it runs away with you on its back" resulted in my very first-riding misadventure. Its typical, shortly after saddling a horse which bloats its belly (in resistance to being saddled), the leather cinch loosened, and the seat beneath my butt, it slid right off her back! It fell with it, all of my panic-stricken body went down too as she continued her wild get-away race.

I've heard pride comes before a fall, and I also think it then might drag you on further in order to grant more pain, for my foot was stuck in the stirrup, and my whole body was hauled right through the ruts of the thistle-laden pasture. For what seemed miles. Fortunately, the grace of God gives boundaries and Dad had erected a fence around this arena or I may have died right there that day. Who knows how else Flicka would have been stopped?!? On the opposite end of the pasture, the fence kept me from certain death...I'm sure of it!

And this is my tongue. It needs reigns, and a skilled rider. It needs boundaries.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you James 1:19-21 
and James 1:26  Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.

Be slow to speak, slow to anger... Slow down Horse!!! (I think my words were more like "AAAHHHH HELP!!!! STOP!!!")

It is a common denominator among us, the need to slow down and reign us all in. Our perceived 'rights' cause us to react to situations with less-than grace. {say, impatience...and worse, harmful anger?}

In order for us to get unstuck from this pattern, we need to understand something: We humans have no rights, all of any good comes from God. We sin. So we cannot hold others under the gun when they sin against us.

Turn the other cheek.
Love your enemies.
If someone takes your shirt, give him your coat as well...

If that kind of behavior doesn't send a shockwave through the system of the one who sins against you, what will? Right?

But who can do those things? Giving more to the one who steals from you??? Really?
Offering your other cheek when you are slapped??? Okay?

Jesus. He who was without sin but took on my sin as he hung there. When I realize it is because of me; the cross is on behalf of me-of MY sins. I offended God with my sin. But then, because of His great love with which He loves us sinners (as exhibited on the cross), I have been pardoned. I have been forgiven.

I cannot then withhold forgiveness even one little bit from someone else...who am I? Why would I have expectations on another to fulfill what I, myself cannot? {did someone say perfectionism?}

Only the person who is laid low before the Lord Jesus in absolute surrender due to the humble state of her grateful heart that says, "I have no rights" can love like that. Because, truth be told...the only selfless One is Jesus and when we lay down and let Him live in and through us, then and only then can we obey Him by loving our enemies or blessing those who curse us.

Victory over anger or any other sin only comes from surrendering our whole self to Christ. This is the cross His disciples are asked to 'take up daily' (Matthew 16:24-26). Lay low. Let Him in. "Have your way with me Lord!" It is the only way. And it is freeing!!!

To let Him run the show means rest for me. It means Life and Peace and Joy. I've got nothing to hide, nothing to lose, nothing to fear, and nothing to prove since I am so loved already by Him who gave to me what I did not deserve. When I slapped Him, He turned the other cheek. When I was His enemy He loved me, and when I stole from Him, he gave me more...That is His essence. He is the Gift-Giver.

No longer do I need to strive or fight for 'mySELF'. He has me. I am cared for.

When we realize that this life WILL have its share of suffering and we stop trying to create heaven on earth for ourselves, then we are free to enable others to see God by letting Jesus love through us. Yes, even our enemies. Even those who slap us. Even those who steal from us...

{Re: MAD chapter of STUCK}


Anonymous said...

Hello. Long time since I've visited here! But your articles are still just as good. I like your use of the horse, and the picture at the beginning. Words, like a racing horse, can get away from us too easily! Good post.

Kathy Schwanke said...

Thanks Warren,
Good to hear from you again!
The comparison is startling...and then there is the rudder of a ship! Thankful for the Living Word with power to bridle the wild beast, right? :)