Weeks have passed since my last blog post. If I’m completely honest, I have sat down to write a number of times and just haven’t been able to find the words to adequately address where I am at right now.
I feel like an outsider looking in. Here I sit, in my very own snow globe of sorts. The peace of the Holy Spirit settles over me, and yet I am watching nothing but chaos outside of my perfect little bubble. The world is angry. With a single utterance of just a few words, I could easily incite rage in a friend, family member and especially a complete stranger. Vaccine, Covid, pandemic, pro life, pro choice, president, tolerance, God, faith, U of M, Michigan State…. (Go green!)
Are you angry yet? Did any of those words make you shift uncomfortably in your seat, or cause the corners of your lips to tug downward? Is there a rage bubbling under the seemingly cool and calm exterior just at the mere mention of those words?
They are just that… words. They are ONLY words and yet we allow them to become weapons.
Be sober minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8
Satan’s favorite weapon is anger. He plants seeds of irritation within our hearts, and we nurture them through festering animosity. They take root and wrap themselves tightly around us as we pour more of our misguided affections into cultivating a disgusting bitterness. We justify our seething rage with self righteousness and the greater good, until all it takes is a single word to tear into a complete stranger on the street, especially so when hiding behind a screen.
I am not perfect, and I struggle with anger myself. In fact it is a battle that I face in a much different way than most. I experienced some really awful traumatic things as a child, which is a story for another day, but due to that trauma I had to learn how to face negative feelings in a healthy way rather than fall into a destructive, blackout rage. Over the last few weeks, I have also been equipped with the enemy’s artillery and argued with loved ones, as well as a few I have encountered in mundane, daily to dos.
It is easy to listen to the lies being whispered into our ears. It may feel good, great even, to tell someone which lovely cliff they can leap from. You will walk away telling yourself you did the world a favor for standing up for [insert group here]. A momentary high will propel you to keep spreading that fierce energy, and eventually you’ll fall over the other side of the mountain you’ve climbed so incredibly high onto, and hit the ground HARD. Interestingly enough, Satan told you which lovely cliff to jump off of and you hit the ground running up that steep mountainside, swan dove over the peak, and broke nearly every bone down as you pushed away your neighbor, friend, mom, cousin, aunt, child, person in front of you at Walgreens, and the man halfway across the country whom you’ve never met, but needed to inform him exactly why he’s wrong about xy and especially z.
Don’t get me wrong, anger is not always a terrible thing. Biblical anger is real and warranted. The problem is that we allow the enemy to tell us too often he’s working on God’s behalf. God himself gets angry, but could you imagine a world where God reacted first in anger, just as we do here? You can try, but I would go out on a limb and say that if He reacted as we do, the world would have been wiped away long ago. He would have given up on us in the garden with Adam and Eve.
It is really hard to pray for our enemy, and to love on those we disagree with, but I would challenge you to open dialogue with those on the other side, rather than spit hateful exchanges. Try to understand the why behind their stance, or choose to just love them anyway. Fear, lies, and anger can really do a number on any person. Not everyone has the same tools, knowledge, or even support that you may have.
The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Psalm 103:8
God is patient and slow to anger, Satan on the other hand is looking to devour anyone he can.
Anger gives birth to wickedness. It places you on the seat of judgement. It rears it’s ugly head when you smile at your neighbor only to spend the following passing minutes lamenting about the way they tend their lawn. It’s in the glare you send over to the unmasked patron in line behind you.
Anger fractures relationships.
Anger is the enemy prowling the streets, devouring whomever he can get to buy into his lies.
A few weeks ago, he casually strolled up to a boy and whispered violent, repugnant lies into his ear. Satan, under his cloak of hatred and rage placed a gun into that boys hand, and in just a few moments changed his life and the lives of the children, community and world surrounding it forever.
Instead of choosing anger, choose love and forgiveness. Pray for the children lost, the families, the community, and while it may seem impossible, pray for Ethan Crumbly and his family. No one is too far from God’s grasp. I pray they experience a revival like no other and use the remainder of their lives to spread the good news throughout the enemy’s breeding grounds.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it only tends to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land. In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there. But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace. Psalm 37: 7-11