It wasn’t fair. How could they do this? (Fill in any situation – most would fit.) I was so angry I could barely wait to tell my bus mates and co-workers. I vented, I raved and I justified – until the next morning.
At 5:00 a.m., Jimmy Cricket extolled the virtues of When You Wish Upon A Star. I wasn’t in the mood for a Pollyanna wake up call and wished I’d changed my alarm to something more like I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.
I rolled out of bed, shuffled out to the kitchen and made coffee. While it brewed, I stared out the window. Light was just showing in the eastern horizon. Clear sky, maybe we’d finally have a sunny, warm day.
The scene faded, receding behind a thin veil. I saw Jesus on the cross. As I watched, He transposed His face over my perceived enemy, for the second time, the first being right after my divorce. I was being reminded, once again, of God’s opinion of anger – even justified anger.
Justified. That was exactly what I had done – justified my action, my decisions, at the expense of another’s reputation. It didn’t matter that I had told the truth. It was wrong to broadcast the negative situation. My face reddened when I remembered a story I had recently told someone else.
A Christian missionary in China discovered a thief had stolen all of the mission’s blankets. The woman said nothing, demonstrated no outward anger, and went about her daily routine as if nothing had happened.
A Chinese solider staying with the missionaries questioned her behavior. “Why are you not angry with this thief?”
The woman replied, “First, God provided those blankets, and He will provide more when we need them. And secondly, the thief obviously needed them more than we did.”
Her words and behavior so impressed the solider he converted to Christianity, becoming a priest.
I sank to my knees, asking God to forgive my un-Christian-like behavior. I vowed to ask forgiveness from every person I had ranted to. Granted it would be hard to swallow my pride and admit I had been wrong, yet I had to somehow set the record straight.
My morning devotions confirmed my guilt. The Greatest Commandment was quoted in my first reading. “Love one another as I have loved you.” Remorse pounded my heart, crushing me into a black hole of shame.
The meditation continued with the gentle reminder that repentance, true repentance – coupled with the desire to change and not repeat the offense – wipes away our sin. There was no need to hang my head in shame or plot horrific punishments.
“He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.”
Psalm 103: 10-12 NKJV