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"May 2024 Newsletter Article"

Pastor John! I gave my anger to God like you said to…and I’m still angry! Now what?

Hello friends of Elm Park UMC,


Many people reading this now have either spoken those words to me or thought about their own situation.


First, I want you to know that you are not alone. Your pastor shares this same struggle from time to time and is experiencing it during this very writing in fact.


Recently, I saw a violent video on the internet of a man who very upset. He was with his friend. His friend knew that the angry man felt the need to hit someone. So, the non-angry friend offered his own face. The angry man punched his friend in the face as a safe way to vent his anger. First and foremost, this is unacceptable behavior, please don’t ever do that. I mention it only because sometimes I think we do this to God.


God says to give our anger to Him, and we do. But we’re still angry! I think in this case we only think we have given it away, when clearly, we’re still hanging on to it, or at least some of it.


Second, I want you all to know that God can handle whatever you throw at Him. We sometimes feel that we can’t handle what we’ve been given, but I assure you, He can.

Third, it’s okay to be angry. Anger comes naturally when mixed with other human emotions. Just like grief, we must let anger take its course. Could last just a few minutes, could last a lot longer than that.


I’ve been angry lately. I’ve encountered a lot of pain recently. I’ve wanted answers as to why and didn’t get the answers I wanted. When you’re in pain, all of life’s little nuances seem to hammer on you all at once. I’m reminded of song lyrics by singer Alanis Morrissette:

It’s like rain on your wedding day.

It’s a free ride when you’ve already paid.

It’s the good advice, that you just didn’t take.

And who would have thought? It figures.

 

Another line from that song reads “it’s like ten thousand spoons, when all you need is a knife.” And boy do I know what that feels like!

 

But I’m reminded of more lyrics from the same artist (can you tell I’ve been listening to a lot of Alanis Morrissette lately?) which reads “but what it all comes down to my friend, is that I haven’t got it all figured out just yet.”

 

Remember the mystery part of this Holy mystery. None of us are quite there yet. We are all works in progress! One thing I have figured out, however, is to not take my emotions out of other people. God is there for us in that regard.

 

So, if you’ve given your anger to God, and you’re still angry, then you haven’t given Him all your anger.

 

Take care of yourself and allow yourself time to heal but beware of self-pity. Beware of thinking God is at fault when things don’t go the way you thought they would or the way you wanted. Anger is natural. Ephesians 4:26 tells us to “be angry, but do not let your anger lead you into sin, don’t let the sun go down on your anger.”

 

Just as you saw God’s footprints in the sand when He carried you in your time of need, He also releases you of anger when you find the way to truly give it all away.

This will sound cliché, and I always try to avoid saying cliché things, but maybe the reason something became cliché in the first place is because it’s reliable. When you’re down and out, try to retrain your focus on what’s going wrong, and count all the things that are going right.

 

Some examples: instead of being upset that the car needs a lot of work done to it, remember that you’re blessed with a car. When you’re upset that you have to pay so much in taxes, remember that you’re blessed to have a job. When you feel like you can’t get back up to the batter’s plate, remember you can come to church to get rejuvenated. Your list of blessings will go on and on. Trust me, God has blessed you in many ways even when we don’t feel it.

 

Next month, we’ll take a look a look at the power behind prayer, even when it seems like it it’s not working.

 

Until then, let this whole church shout!...Amen.

 

Your brother in Christ

Pastor John



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