Everyday we are offered opportunities for anger and vengeance. As I listen to some, I think it is what gets them through their day.
It is cyclical. People – anger – vengeance – people – anger – vengeance.
It starts with people interacting with their environment. Alarm clocks, weather, traffic, work, food, music, talk, money, the list goes on. We come in contact with the world around us and immediately there is conflict. Much of it stays beneath the radar, beneath our consciousness.
I woke up the morning to the alarm clock. It is cold, the bed was warm. I do not want to be up. I want to sleep. I was torn between being actually too warm under the covers and not wanting to experience the shock of cold when those covers were removed. I got dressed in the frigid air while my wife remained warm and sleeping. I walked to the kitchen where there was no coffee and my lunch was not made.
In the space of ten minutes I had already been offended multiple times. I had offended myself.
This is normal. But it can build.
Traffic. Don’t get me started on traffic. Worries start to bombard us. And then we meet people. The cheery morning person, the grumpy one, all take their toll on our sensitivities. Everything is fine (sort of) until someone says something that can be perceived as against us. We want to stop the offense, make it like it never happened, make it like it has no effect on us. Sometimes, too often, it illicits a response of lashing out, verbally, physically, mentally. We want to control. We want to survive.
It happens at home, at school, at work, even at church.
I had a great day at church. A great day right up until someone offended me. It damaged the rest of Sunday, ruined Monday and began to poison today.
Here’s the thing though, I talk to God. The God who loves me unconditionally, who sent His son to bear my offenses and die for me. I talk with a King who forgives.
Can I see that no one wanted to offend me? Can I see that I am loved and appreciated? Can I let go of my anger, my desire for vengeance and pour out the love that has been poured out on me?
It should never be that the Church of Jesus, our Messiah, is anything other than a place where all can find peace, all can find forgiveness, all can find love.
And it starts with me.