I have been angry—at myself, at other people, at situations—and sometimes I have acted out the anger in emotional outbursts, foolish words, hurtful words. Strangely, I have never experienced what I have heard from others, anger at God. Maybe it’s because of my upbringing—I don’t know—but He could never be an object of my anger, because He always ends up being the only comforting bosom to which I can flee when everyone and all else fails me.
What has angered me most in the past was false accusation, whether it was explicit or concealed under sarcasm directed against me, such as being made to feel inferior or stupid by someone whom I really care about, when I’m only trying to help them. The other person may have a weakness in a certain area, so you usually skirt by and stay clear of such situations to avoid displays of this weakness. Sometimes you have to take a risk, though, and see if they’ve learned to overcome it, or if they at least can show some patience with you. You take the risk, but sometimes you lose. You know that they were just tired, frustrated, or unhappy with things, as anyone can be, and so you just withdraw without any reaction. You still feel hurt, but then reason kicks in and reminds you that they meant you no harm. You know that the incident, and all the pain, will be swallowed up by just saying “Yes” to whatever the Lord asks you to do next.
Apologizing for expressions of anger, whether they arose out of righteous indignation or emotional weakness, is a given; yet, you may find yourself having to live with people who still have not learned how to say “excuse me” honestly.
I thought, in my family life for example, that by always being ready to apologize, not just for anger, but for anything for which an apology might be due, and by actually apologizing, even when I believed I was “in the right” in order to defuse a situation—I thought this example would have a good effect. I was wrong. My way of dealing with confrontation was seen as a form of cowardice and weakness. That disappointed me because, again, it was a kind of false accusation against me, and I thought ‘my behavior all these years has been misinterpreted.’ When I found out what they actually thought about me, I was hurt, and even angry, but there was nothing to be gained by resentment. It’s still always better to forgive than to deceive.
So I still believe that to apologize for oneself and for others comes not from weakness, but from strength, and also from love. It doesn’t matter what other people, even our loved ones, think of us, because we know that we answer to a higher Authority.
“Anyone who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and any one who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me…” (Matthew 10:37)
I could not have done, nor can I do anything, different from what I did and continue to do, to always be ready to make peace and admit my fault, even to cover up another person’s sin, and if I do become angry, to lay that anger at the feet of the One whom I follow, not out of a sense of duty, but out of love and gratitude for His forgiveness.
There is no better word than to always follow Jesus and imitate Him to the best of your ability at every age and in every situation, and if it pleases God that your friends and family members respect you for it, and even follow your example, then praise God; and if they misinterpret your motives and your actions, and even if they reject you, then praise God, and do not stop following the Master. He is always there for us, always faithful to welcome us into His presence and, ultimately, into His Kingdom.
“O taste and see that the Lord is good.”