I'm mad...because he's mad...
This morning, an hour after we'd dropped Aaron off at school, my 2 year old, Layla said, "I'm mad, mom! But I'm not mad at you. I'm mad at Aaron." I asked her why she was mad at her brother, he wasn't even here and he hadn't done anything mean to her this morning. She replied, "I'm mad at Aaron because sometimes he gets mad at me, because I get mad at him, because he gets mad at me..." I began to realize that she wasn't really mad, she just wanted to pretend to be mad at someone and since he sometimes makes her mad, he was an easy target since he wasn't around to defend himself.
As I began to think about my daughter and her displaced anger, I thought about how many times we as adults, as people, get angry. How many times we get angry for unknown reasons. How often we project our hurt and confused emotions onto others as anger. How often we have displaced anger. So many times in life we hear someone might be angry with us from another person, so instead of talking to the person, we just hold it inside and get angry at them, for being angry at us. Other times we feel like someone is angry with us, so we get angry at them, because we feel if they're angry at us, we have to be angry at them. Or even still, our friend or loved one will talk to us about a person they are angry with and we feel we need to be angry with them too, because if they are angry at our loved one, well then they must be angry at us too! Oh help us, Lord.
Please understand that I am not saying anger is bad. Anger is a feeling, like all feelings, we are allowed to feel it and will feel it many times as humans. However, it is just that, an emotion. We feel many different emotions throughout any given day. This is how we were created. The problem lies in holding onto our anger. So often we hold our anger, because we are really hurt and are afraid if we let go of our anger we will end up hurt again. Anger helps us to believe that we are no longer vulnerable and that somehow we are now safe, because we've put up this anger roadblock. But holding onto anger is not ok. Holding onto anger will create a war within our own heart and mind.
The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 7:9 "Do not let anger upset your spirit, for anger lodges in the bosom of a fool." Ouch...did your read that? Don't let it upset our spirit?! Oh man, that's hard. How many times have you allowed anger to completely change your day, your mood, your spirit? I'd rather not count, thank you. In Ephesians 4:26 it says "'Be angry, but do not be willing to sin." Do not let the sun set over your anger." I've heard the last part of that verse quoted often, but I've rarely heard the first part, "do not be willing to sin." Um, does that mean I can't sit in my anger and plot against whoever has made me angry? I can't just block that person who made me angry out of my life? Life would be so much easier if we could do that, don't you think? If you make me mad, I'll just block you out of my life, hold my anger for you inside and if I ever see you, I'll just completely pretend you don't exist....if only. Thank God He doesn't block me out when I make Him angry!
As a Christian, I am so glad I don't have to process all of my anger by myself...cause if it were left to me, I wouldn't process it at all! I'm so thankful that I have a God who is bigger than any of my anger issues.
Wow...that was a lot from just a little statement from my 2 year old. Thanks for reading...