Have you ever been angry? Have you ever gotten so upset at someone else that you just wanted to throw your hands up in the air and walk away, or worse? I know some of you are probably thinking to yourself, “That’s not what I want to do when I get mad!”
That’s not wanted I wanted to do either 18 years ago. I’ll be transparent – I used to have a temper, and it wasn’t pretty. I have improved 100-fold over the years. Certain things still press my buttons, but I have fewer buttons for someone to push and a lot more godly influence in my life than I did back then. Christ has been working on me for years, and it shows. I can feel a difference in my demeanor.
I remember the day, December 31, 2003.
Yes, I remember the whole day perfectly. New Year’s Eve is a beautiful way to celebrate love by kissing in the new year. But that night before the ball dropped, the love of my life walked out the door for good to go back to his ex-wife. We were going to get engaged, be married, and live happily ever after. I thought I finally found true love. After all, what else is one to think when the Christmas picture of two lovebirds adorns your wall?
I thought wrong. Little did I know my true love had more love for someone else. That night he left and went back to his ex-wife.
Happy New Year to me!
I called my pastor and told him my boyfriend had left me. I told him how mad I was over him leaving me and how bad it hurt. Oh, it hurt bad. My love had no defense when I brought out all the love letters, cards, and pictures of the two of us. He had no words that could put the toothpaste back in the tube. But he did know before he walked out the door for the last time how steaming mad I was at him.
As the pastor listened, he told me I would be alright. He said, “God understands you are angry right now but don’t stay mad for very long, or you will miss out on the blessings.”
Ha! What blessings?
But you know something? The pastor was so right!
The blessings in my life have been plentiful since January 1, 2004.
I only stayed mad for three weeks. Three weeks was way too long when I think about it now. I could say the pain and anger were justified but in who’s eyes? Mine.
My ex remarried his ex-wife three months later and re-divorced her a few years after their reunited bliss.
He called me one day and asked that we meet somewhere to talk. What did I have to lose? He had already lost in more ways than one. So I met up with him and listened to him tell me that we would be back together one day when we were old and gray.
In my head, I said, ‘Sweetheart, I am not waiting on you.’
His turn on the merry-go-round is over. The train left the station. The bus left the depot. That bridge is out. That dog doesn’t hunt anymore.
Besides, how highly do you think of me to think that I will be waiting for you year after year until I’m old and gray?
I haven’t spoken to him since. A few years after meeting up again, I saw on Facebook he had married someone else. Yes, I looked.
Did I handle my anger appropriately that awful night?
No. I let my emotions take over, and the last image he has of me that evening is of a crazy woman screaming and crying. I hate that image of myself. We do that, don’t we? Regret shows up with the worst visuals sometimes.
For years I kept our Christmas picture buried in my nightstand drawer. Each time I pulled it out, I was reminded of that awful night and how I responded. I finally threw the picture away a few years ago.
Pain can cause anger, but be careful you do not allow your anger to get out of control. When we’re in the moment, all rationale goes out the window when we are angry, and we want to inflict pain for pain. But responding this way hurts us more, and we will live with those memories for years, maybe even the rest of our lives.
Handle anger in a godly way.
Ephesians 4:26, “In your anger do not sin. “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.”
Before my relationship with Jesus, I saw many a sunset in an angry mood. I am so glad anger doesn’t rule me anymore.
Don’t stay mad for too long, or you might miss out on God’s blessings for you.