'Be angry and sin not' was slowly becoming an irrational, archaic saying in my mind. My self-control and Christ-like behaviour were rapidly wearing thin as I tried to restrict my desired reactions to my thoughts. I was mad, and in this state I felt almost completely justified in turning into the worst version of myself in order to give way to the deadly volcano fuming within me.
As my initial rage cooled down my preoccupation with my reputation trumped my angry thoughts and soon I was back to my regular self. Little did I know, that my anger had not gone away but had planted a seed of bitterness in my heart. This emotion lay dormant until the next time the same person managed to upset me again.
On this occasion, I would say that I practiced slightly less restraint, because I destroyed that person in my mind and my conversations with others. Yet I was proud of the fact that I had not approached them, and as such I thought that I was managing my feelings quite well.
At some point in our lives, we have all met someone who was unnecessarily unkind to us and probably thought to ourselves, "What on earth is their problem?" or "They clearly woke up on the wrong side of the bed." That person was me shortly after my emotionally taxing dance with rage.
That day, the unfortunate target of my anger was one of my friends, who picked the wrong moment to inform me that they had misplaced something of mine. This confession awakened the volcano within me, and the devil began to remind me of every single thing that friend had ever done to upset me in the past. I was ready to explode and felt quite justified in doing so.
But by the grace of God my mother called and as I ranted to her, she asked me a simple question, "are you sure that your anger is all directed towards this one person?" Though I knew that the answer was no, it took some more time and counsel before I fully calmed down. After my conversation with her, I rejoiced in the fact that I had not said the awful things that I thought would have felt so good to say in the midst of my rage.
This situation taught me the importance of seeking counsel from wise, Christ-like people in moments of rage. This was so crucial because if I had spoken to someone who spurred on my anger, I would probably have hurt and lost my friend. Proverbs chapter 22 verse 24 warns against this very thing and even urges us not to associate with people who are easily angered."
"Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind." - unknown
Although I had learnt that lesson, I still had a great amount of bitterness stored up towards the real target of my anger. So I began to write down everything that I wanted to say to that person in the unfiltered manner in which it came to my mind. When I was finished, my entire being felt lighter as love filled the parts of me that hate and anger had been festering.
It was at this point that I was able to rewrite that letter, expressing to that person how I felt and reminding them that despite their actions I still loved them. To this, the recipient replied with great remorse and we were able to have a civilised conversation.
A moment of anger could rewrite our future
My build-up of rage reminded me of Moses' reaction to the ungrateful Israelites in the book of Numbers chapter 20. Moses had become so frustrated with their complaints and constant pessimism that he struck the rock in anger instead of speaking to it in the manner that God had commanded him to.
As Christians, our actions are constantly being watched by those around us, thus in our reactions we are still representatives of Christ. In addition, the gravest consequence of our striking out in anger is that we often, forfeit our promised land that we worked so hard for. Just imagine how Moses must have felt when God told him that because of his actions he will never enter the Promised Land.
He who made the Volcano
Therefore, what do we do with the often unmanageable volcanic rage that spurs up within us? We give it over to the creator of all things. When we vent our anger to God it is directed at a source that can comfort and calm us. He provides the resources that we need to better manage the situation and to do so in a Christ-like manner.
"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs chapter 15 verse 1
This season of my life, revealed to me the complete truth of Proverbs chapter 15 verse 18, which explains that a hot-tempered person stirs up conflict but a patient person calms a quarrel. In retrospect I know that reacting in my state of rage would have only made both situations worse and would have given more of a foothold for the tempter to spur me on.
Therefore I thank God for bringing me to a place of wisdom so that I was able to react in a calm manner instead of foolish rage.
Danielle Jones was born on the beautiful island of Barbados to phenomenal parents. She currently works as an English Language teaching assistant at La Universidad Francisco de Paula Santander in the city of Cúcuta, Colombia. She hopes to be fluent in Spanish very soon, as well as to be an example of the love of Christ wherever she goes.
Danielle Jones' previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/danielle-jones.html