I’m angry. And I want justice.
Pretty simple emotions, huh? I’m fairly certain that every last one of us has walked away from a situation simply seething with a clenched-jaw as we prayed for some form of justice, even if we weren’t there to witness our justice being realized. We wanted our boss to get fired. We wanted that other parent to learn that their kid was a jackwagon bully and we wanted them to PAY for their sins. We wanted that politician exposed as a liar. We wanted that arrogant neighbor to be taught a little bit about justice and what we perceive as RIGHT.
We want….a conclusion. We want to be proven CORRECT.
I’m no different. I’ve been really upset lately about injustice, and dammit, I’m tired of wrestling with it. I have all of these fragmented parts of my life that don’t resolve…they don’t conclude in a way that brings me a clean conclusion to them, and so they leave me glaring at a person from across the room. They are bad break-ups that don’t provide me the clean resolution that I think my heart requires, and so, in my typical sinful way, I’m left grinding my teeth and staying up late at night thinking about these injustices.
And frankly, I’m just tired of it.
I have come to learn that few things will keep you from growing spiritually as will unresolved anger and/or conflict. It’s a cancer that grabs hold of your heart and grows, all the while hardening your heart in a myriad of ways, and leaving you tired and angry over things that you can’t fix nor control. The anger becomes a religion of sorts for you (and me) that provides you some weird sort of comfort as you claim that you are moving forward and working through these very issues. You ultimately lie to yourself and others, and claim forgiveness and conclusion, but in your heart…down deep…where only God exists…and where your deepest realities have a home…you must confess that you have an angry, turbulent heart.
You also will learn that when you let anger grab hold and grow in your heart, it spreads. It spreads into all parts of your life, and it also spreads so that you become angry at those you shouldn’t even be angry at. As in, all of a sudden your friends are in the line of fire. Your parents. Your co-workers. Your children. That little seed of anger at someone spreads and blacks over your heart and the next thing you know, you are dressing down your kids for being kids. Just because they frustrated you, they are open game.
And then you stop one day. One day you simply see the forest for the trees, and recognize that your anger has become your religion…and then, perhaps…you hit your knees.
I’m mad at my ex-wife for hurting me when she didn’t need to. I’m mad at my buddy that quit calling me. I’m mad at a dear friend that said some hurtful things about me. I’m mad at a policeman that gave me a ticket last week. I’m mad at a doctor. A doctor that didn’t save my brother from cancer. I’m mad that the world kept turning after he died. I’m mad at God for letting it happen.
I’m mad. And, most importantly, I’m REALLY tired of being mad.
So what do we do? How do we drop this baggage and find some peace when we honestly, truly, really are quite comfortable being mad at those that have wronged us? When wrongs are committed, it’s quite natural for us to feel a desire for revenge, and when we can’t have that, we simply cling to hurt and anger. So how do we let go of it.
Hell if I know. (Yeah, I know this is a “spiritual” article, but never forget that I’m an actual person that is just as quick to sin as you are.)
James 1:20 tells us, “…human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” No, it most certainly does not. We sin and then sin some more. We hang onto that sin for decades, or for entire lifetimes, and we go down screaming about injustice.
But what do we earn? Does our hurt and our anger actually bring us that justice that we so desperately want and desire? Nah, it just brings us wasted energy and lost opportunities.
Here’s where I lay it on thick and you can roll your eyes because you know that I’m not practicing what I’m preaching and you’d be right: We simply have to forgive. That’s it. God has called us to let it go, to give it to Him, and to take a deep breath and just let it be carried away in the wind.
Oh man, that sounds SIMPLE. A nice, simple conclusion to the entire issue, huh? Yeah, maybe. If only our hearts were nice, simple things. But they’re not. They’re complex, and difficult, and stubborn. Mine is as well.
And so here I sit on a Tuesday night trying to figure out how to let go…and forgive. I’m not any closer than I was an hour ago, but I do recognize that the issue is mine to own. The anger that I harbor isn’t someone else’s to “fix” or to confess…it’s mine to release. And I simply have to.
And so do you.
Let me know when you figure it out, friends. I would love to hear from you, and would love to hear the outcomes of your grace and forgiveness. In the meantime, I’ll just keep on doing the best I can and writing about my struggles in the hopes that some honesty from me might bring about some change in YOU.
And then hopefully I’ll join you.