"That just frustrates me."
"I'm just irritated."
"They disappointed me."
"It's just that time of the month."
"I'm just being hormonal."
"She just knows how to press my buttons."
"If she would obey the first time, I wouldn't have to raise my voice to get the point across."
"He just rubs me the wrong way."
"That just hurt my feelings."
Oh my, how many times I have uttered those phrases. Too many to count. I always thought they were legitimate claims. But, I'm learning they're cop-outs.
"What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder (according to Jesus in Matthew 5:21 that is the same as being angry in your heart toward someone). You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions." James 4:1 - 3
All of the statements I listed above are just expressions of my dislike for not being the center of the world. I'm frustrated, irritated, disappointed, irritable, rubbed the wrong way and hurt because things don't go MY way. It all boils down to that. I get angry because I don't get what I want.
Can I say that it is a hard thing to admit that I am an angry person?? It sounds so...harsh. But, man, it's true. Thankfully, the text goes on to say...
"But He gives more grace. Therefore it says, 'God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.' Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you. Do not speak evil against one another brothers. The one who speaks evil against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?" James 4:6 - 12
Lord, thank you for your grace...your beautiful, scandalous grace...the grace that covers my sin...the grace that forgives...the grace that exposes my broken and deceitful heart...the grace that enables me to repent and draw near to you...the grace that enlarges my heart to love and serve others instead of wanting to only be loved and served by others. Thank you for the wonderful cross by which all of this is possible.