Just the other day, I got into a conversation with some of my co-workers about our biggest pet peeves. It didn’t take long before I quickly realized that I probably shouldn’t have brought it up. How can you talk about the things that irritate you and somehow avoid irritation? Still, I silenced my better judgment in that moment and just went there with them. At first, the conversation was somewhat comical and superficial. The things we shared ranged from clothing on animals to leashes on children. I mean, who doesn’t despise both of those things, right? After a few laughs together over these somewhat trivial issues, deeper frustrations began to surface…the fact that people have somehow forgotten how to say “thank you”, increasing unkindness, arrogance and pride, intolerance.
As we began to expose our real frustrations, I couldn’t help but think about what causes God to be angry, and how my list so often differs from His.
What I quickly began to realize was that most, if not all of my petty frustrations were rooted in my own pride – my preferences or opinions versus others’ and how I am affected by these things. When I chose to go a bit below the surface, though, I realized what is truly the source of my anger.
I want people to act like Jesus. When they don’t, I get angry.
Here’s the problem with that: People who don’t know Jesus aren’t going to act like Him. They’re just not going to. All the more reason for the Christ-followers of this world to step up our game. The ones who know Jesus Christ need to be the ones acting like Him, loving like Him, serving like Him, forgiving like Him, giving out grace like Him. Yes, get angry at sin because sin angers God, but do not sin in your anger. (Ephesians 4:26) Man’s anger does not produce the righteousness that God requires. (James 1:20)
So, the next time you’re angry, ask yourself “why?” Are you angry because you were offended, or are you angry because God was offended? Let’s start to care more about God’s preferences than our own. Let’s stop expecting this unbelieving world to act like a bunch of believers, and instead let’s start acting like a bunch of believers – broken people saved by grace and extending grace to others instead of anger.