In some ways, the events came as no surprise. But there are some details that caught me completely off guard. After the initial feeling of shock, I have felt anger. The person responsible isn't a Christian. But I am. So where does that leave me in my reaction?
The Bible frequently mentions God being angry over His people pursuing idols. In those instances, the people were denying God what was rightfully His. In some way, I feel justified at being angry. The person's actions will be denying others what is rightfully theirs. But how does God view my anger?
James 1:19-21 (NIV)My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life 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.
Anger is not something that I should give in to easily. "Anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires." Chances are, if I'm angry about something, I am not focusing on God and I am instead focusing on me. I think it's interesting to note that the next verse talks about moral filth and evil. If anger is left unchecked and allowed to run wild, it can lead the way to all manner of things taking hold in one's life.
Ephesians 4:26-27;31-32 (NIV)
"In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold... Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Anger is something to let go of quickly. If I get angry, I am to still remain in control of myself. I am still held to the same standard of behavior. My anger is to be short-lived - most likely to prevent grudges and plans for revenge. If I'm not going to hold onto something, I have to let go. Who better to give it to than God? The importance of forgiveness is addressed, along with a reminder that we have all been forgiven.
Corinthians 13:4-6 (NIV)Love is patient... it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Anger is something to be forgotten. When someone messes up, I'm not supposed to hold their wrongs against them. Before last week, I held out hope that the situation would be rectified. Given the recent developments, though, it looks as though that isn't going to happen. Now that the person has chosen their course of action, I'm not supposed to hold it over the person's head forever. I am not the judge.
There are other places within the New Testament that are along the same lines, and many more in the Old Testament. This situation is something that I'm not going to pray over just once. I know that this is something I am going to have to give to God over and over as the events continue to unfold. I do know that it is hard to be angry with someone if you are praying for them. While I can't see how things can end in any good manner, I know that I serve a God of miracles. I know that God can make good come out of any circumstance.
Pray with me?