When was the last time you were angry? Do Christians get angry?
I remember feeling angry when a co-worker, for whom I’d done a professional favor, failed to offer me the same courtesy when she later had opportunity to do so.
Years earlier I had used my influence to ensure she received strong consideration for a position for which she was applying. She accepted the position then began ignoring my phone calls.
I felt used and quite angry. I nursed those feelings until confronted by the Holy Spirit.
“What are you owed?” the Spirit of God asked. Then He led me to Jonah 4:4 where God asks Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry?”
Jonah was sent to preach repentance to a city known for its wickedness. That city was Nineveh, and Ninevites were also enemies of Israel. Jonah found the order intolerable and ran in the opposite direction until God used circumstances to teach him obedience.
Eventually Jonah returned to Nineveh and preached of a coming destruction. The Ninevites believed, repented and God had compassion and did not destroy the city.
Instead of being thrilled by their repentance, Jonah was angry with God. That’s where we find the question “Is it right for you to be angry?”
Like Jonah, I walked away from the question. I believed my anger was justified. After all, I had invested time and effort into her career. She used my kindness and then failed to offer assistance when she was able to help me.
I deserved to be treated better. The situation was definitely unfair.
That’s when the Spirit spoke grace to my heart. I realized that I was owed nothing because I had been given everything. All I had, including opportunities to bless others, was a gift. Nothing had been earned. I was a debtor to grace.
Yes, my pride had been hurt and I was focusing on myself. My anger emanated from selfishness.
“What did I have that I had not received?” (1 Corinthians 4:7) And if I received it, why was I angry?
The question re-echoed in my spirit. “Is it right for you to be angry?”
I realized that I had benefitted from grace. All I needed God, not my actions or my co-workers, would provide. Finally my anger dissolved in a torrent of thanks and praise.
To God be the glory. Amen!
Question for Discussion
- What do we owe each other as human beings?