What makes you angry?
Not annoyed, but “fly off the handle in a rage”- angry? For me, I hate being interrupted and cannot stand being told how to do something I know how to do. This is probably because I value communication and autonomy. What makes me angry reveals what I value; so if I am honest, I’m also angry because I pride myself in usually being right and autonomous. Oooooo… pride… that’s a Christian dirty word, isn’t it?
I find that when I’m angry, I want to think that it is righteous indignation, and a lot of time it is. As a prosecutor, I have seen the world’s absolute worst, and my feelings against those acts and actors are justified. But more often, my indignation is self-centered and prideful. It’s rooted in my feelings instead of facts, and when I want to avoid being wrong, I shout louder because if the attention is on someone else, and how that person messed up, it is not on me or my mistake. That’s pride. Pride is valuing self over others. It’s self-preservation at all costs. It is idolatry – placing your values over God’s values.
The word pride is used more than 60 times in scripture and only a handful are neutral or positive (e.g. Proverbs 17:6). Generally, they are blunt condemnations:
- For the sins of their mouths, for the words of their lips, let them be caught in their pride. For the curses and lies they utter, (Psalm 59:12)
- When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. (Proverbs 11:2)
- A fool’s mouth lashes out with pride, but the lips of the wise protect them (Proverbs 14:3)
- For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. (1 John 2:16)
Pride is not a Godly virtue. It is worldy. It is emotional. It is sin. If left unchecked, pride will lead to ruin.
We all get angry. What makes you angry?
Our country is angry right now, but what values does our anger reveal?
Are you angry that someone asked you to wear a mask to shop in her store?.. or that a security guard was shot and killed for asking someone to wear a mask?
Are you angry that _____ was closed when you wanted to shop there?… or that quarantine decreases the likelihood of child abuse reporting?
Are you angry that your immunocompromised friend had to stay inside her apartment for 7 weeks in fear of getting a disease that would kill her?
… or that Walmart was out of toilet paper for 3 weeks?
Are you angry that a man made in the image of God died needlessly while others watched?… or that property was destroyed in protest?
Are you angry that someone called you a racist?…or that you examine your heart and found prejudice there?
Are you angry about media bias against Christians?… or that our POTUS used a Bible for a photo op?
A local historic courthouse was set on fire recently. As a lawyer, this made me very upset. It was not necessary. It was a waste. It was an important building. It was senseless. Per usual, God stopped me in my tracks and pointed out the hypocrisy of my emotions:
- Damage to a building was not necessary– George Floyd’s death was not necessary.
- Damage to a building was a waste. George Floyd’s death wasted the life of an image bearer of God.
- This was an important building. George Floyd was a person.
- Damage to a building was senseless. George Floyd death was senseless.
Do I value property more than life? Does God?
Let me be clear: I’m not encouraging riot or looting, minimizing danger or loss to individuals. I am examining the condition of my own heart and what my perception and what my emotions can inform me regarding my values. Then I’m looking at what God values to see if my values align with His.
If you are willing to look at yourself — what makes you angry? and what values do your anger reveal? Do they align with God’s values?