There’s this intersection in my town that’s horrible. It’s the 54/74 intersection. It’s not meant for the amount of traffic that comes through there. Regularly people get stranded in the middle and “block the box” which prevents the next lane of traffic from going. It’s horrible
Go there from 4:30–7 on any weeknight and you’ll see what I mean. By the time it takes for you to get through the intersection you’ll have had the chance to test out a couple of times how you’re doing at living out 1 Corin. 13- you know, the whole, “Love is patient. Love is kind.” chapter.
It’s easy to get angry in that intersection. Heck, it’s easy to get angry everywhere I go. I mean, do you ever get the feeling, “Everyone’s an idiot but me?” It seems like America has morphed into a people living in this perpetual state of offense and anger.
In 2015 slate.com created an interactive calendar for the things culture was mad about every day that year. Think about that. 365 days of anger and offense about something.
They don’t make that calendar anymore, but I can’t imagine it’s gotten better. Somehow anger and offense have become engrained into our culture. This is where we get cancel culture from.
There are negative consequences to all this anger. One, it actually does physical damage to you (high blood pressure, eating disorders, anxiety, shortened life span, and more). Two, it damages the relationships in your life. So, why do we do it? Why are we so hooked?
No one wakes up in the morning and says, “Oh boy, I can’t wait to find the thing I get to be angry about today.” It just kinda happens. And the hard part about anger is in our minds, we’re always right. We always have righteous anger.
One day I get mad at the guy blocking the box and then 2 weeks later I’m mad at the guy honking at me for blocking the box.
The writer of Proverbs actually talks about this. “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.” Proverbs 18:17 You and I always state the case first in our own head. We’re always right in our minds. That’s why we always think we are righteously mad.
“Shelby if you would just hear my side you’d get it.” Yeah, I get it.
What if our anger isn’t righteous at all? I mean, how can we know for sure that we are the “righteous ones”? Do you know all the ends and outs of that person making you angry, do you know for sure their motives? Do you know their heart? Do you? No…you don’t. You don’t even know your own heart.
And even if you did…haven’t you done something somewhere along the way in your life that you received grace over even though you didn’t deserve it? I know I have. I don’t know if you know this about me, but I’m rich in grace. I didn’t earn any of it…People have just given it to me! Do you think I should hoard it up for myself or give it out to others?
What if we can choose not to be offended? I think we can. Part of it is to lower your expectations of others. Sounds harsh, but it’s powerful. When I drive to 54/74 now I don’t get angry any more because I expect someone is going to get stuck in the middle. I feel bad for them because I’ve been there too.
I think we just need to shift our mindsets and realize we’re just a bunch of messy people trying the best we can. That all of us are going to do stupid things. Some of those stupid things hit home closer than others.
None of us are good. Give up your right to be the police of the world. It’s not your job.
Some of you’re thinking right now of all the injustices in the world. Abuse, neglect, racism, poverty, human trafficking etc…Surely those things are worth getting angry about. There are real injustices in this world. Things that, when we look at them, should piss you off (can I say that?) But listen….injustice doesn’t need your anger it needs your actions. When you act to correct an injustice without anger it’s so much better than doing nothing and just living with anger.
Another way to say that, anger should move us to an act of love.
Jesus followers, we should be the most unoffendable people on earth. The ones that see injustice in the world and don’t just get angry at it…they morph that anger into a loving act to help move the injustice in the right direction. Jesus followers don’t shake their fists at culture, they move to acts of love within culture.
So, what has you angry today and how can you morph that energy into an act of love?
*** A lot of these ideas come from an amazing book called Unoffendable: How Just One Change Can Make All of Life Better By: Brant Hansen
I highly recommend it!! Seriously, one of my top 5 books of all time!