It was an amazing day until I overreacted.
I had taken a day off work to attend an online conference for Christian women communicators. I had received so much amazing information and felt assured of my calling to write. I’d come home where my boys had missed me and gave me hugs. I’d fixed an easy dinner that was fairly nutritious that both boys actually ate. My husband arrived home, and we all went outside to spend some family time together. The boys were happily playing until one did something I told him not to do and a mess resulted.
If you had been there, you would see and hear me overreact. Loudly. Angrily. Childishly. And you would see and hear my children cry. And you would hear my sweet, loving husband say, “The neighbors are watching.”
Yep. “The neighbors are watching.” There are lots of words moms dread, but those are near the top of the list. Especially when I just overreacted regarding my now crying children.
The fact is that while it was bad enough that someone saw my overreaction, but it wasn’t some stranger. Nope. They just saw that I, newly minted Christian Blogger, who has it all together, does not actually have it all together. It was my neighbors. They would probably read my posts with an eye roll, “She talks about Jesus, but did you hear her yell at her kids last week?”
I do not have it all together.
Is that you? Worse than the fear of making a mistake is that someone else will know you made a mistake and that you do not have it all together.
When I started writing, I tried to think through scripture passages where someone overreacted (Moses: Numbers 20:1-13) or journeys of redemption (Ruth; The Prodigal Son). I even started to text a friend “Favorite accounts of redemption in scripture?” and then I envisioned his reply, “The whole thing.”
One of my favorite Bibles to read with my boys is “The Jesus Storybook Bible.” In the introduction, it explains “There are lots of stories in the Bible, but all the stories are telling one Big Story. The Story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them.” The Bible is the story of God redeeming His creation.
The Hebrew base word in redeem and redemption is found 105 times throughout scripture. The first time the word is used in scripture is in Genesis 48. Israel is on his deathbed and has asked Joseph to bring his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim for Israel to bless. He says,
“God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,Genesis 48:15b-16
The God who has fed me all my life long to this day,
The Angel who has redeemed me from all evil,
Bless the lads;
Let my name be named upon them,
And the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac;
And let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.”
Why am I talking about a deathbed blessing when what you really want to know is how to get past the shame? As you look back at this verse, ask yourself from what was Israel redeemed?
There are times in scripture that someone is in need of redemption in a situation she did not create, such as Ruth, but generally in scripture, the person needing redemption both 1) created the need for redemption and 2) cannot provide the redemption. I can’t think of a single example in my life where I Needed redemption from something that was not my own doing. And what exactly am I doing that requires redemption? Sin — or by a more direct name: evil — my own evil.
When I began to study this passage, I found a cross-reference for redeemed in Genesis 48:15 in the “Treasury of Scripture Knowledge” to the Lord’s Prayer: the passage of scripture where Jesus teaches his disciples how to pray by giving them an example. Near the end of that prayer, Jesus asks, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” (Matthew 6:13). This is the verse cross-referenced with Genesis 48:15. And here’s where I got confused. The verses do not seem to be connected. I read the, I reread them. I pondered, walked away, came back, and reread them. One verse says redeemed. The other uses the word deliver. These two words do not share an origin.
The evil from which God redeems us is the same evil from which He wants to deliver us.
Finally, I paused on the words from evil in both verses. God redeems us from evil. God delivers us from evil. If we are redeemed, what are we redeemed from? Evil. If we are redeemed, that which we are redeemed from owned us. Redeem means to buy back — so if God is redeeming us from evil, our sin caused evil or the Evil One as some translations say, to take ownership of us. Now when God redeems us from sin, it is more than the changing of a label. It is a process. God does not want merely to redeem us from past sin. In the process of redemption, He wants to deliver us from future sin.
When I lose my temper, I can turn to God for redemption. My value is found in Him. He purchased me with the blood of His son. What the neighbors think of me falls away in the glory of what God has done for me. Yes, I mess up, but I don’t have to stay messed up. My soul is redeemed from evil. Now, should I continue in anger, losing my temper without consequence or second thought? No! Part of God’s redemption is delivering me from that sin. Part of that deliverance is for me to recognize the sin as sin. God does not want me to continue in sin, but he does not want me to wallow in it either, allowing it to become my identity. That goes back to redemption. That mistake doesn’t own you. God does.
On a practical level, how do we go beyond just recognizing our sin? In this situation, I looked back a few days later to see why I flew off the handle. I realized something. When the mess was made, I was on my phone creating an online grocery pickup because of how busy our week was going to be. My children’s mess interrupted me.
When do you find yourself getting mad?
— Is it when you are on your phone and distracted?
— Are you tired or hungry? Is it when you feel disheveled — do you need to stop and take a shower and spend 10 minutes getting yourself ready so that you’re prepared to handle the day?
— Is it when you are overstimulated? My children get grumpy or when they watch too much tv. I doubt that changes for us adults.
If you can pinpoint what is shortening your fuse, you can be on guard when you know it is short.
Above all, remember that God has redeemed your past and will deliver your future.
Note: For a more comprehensive resource on dealing with anger, checkout Unglued by Lysa Teurkurst available here https://www.p31bookstore.com/collections/by-lysa-terkeurst/products/unglued