Friday, July 20, 2007
The Mad That You Feel
What do you do with the mad that you feel? Mr. Rogers wrote a well-known children’s rhyme by that same title. Yet the answer to this seemingly simple question can speak volumes about your character and spirituality. I don’t believe anger is wrong but what we do with it shapes who we are. I feel inclined to mention that I’m not about to use this space to spout off platitudes, in fact this post will show you that I’m dead wrong!
This week I experienced an altercation at work. For legal reasons I can’t get into all the details but I can give you the short version. There is a promotion coming up and of those interested in the position I am the most qualified. I say that because it’s true, and not because I have delusions of superiority. The competitors decided that the only way they could “win” was to play dirty. And so a systematic and strategic character assault ensued. I’m talking about sabotage! So what should a Christian do when the world attacks? You guessed it, yell, swear, and attack back full force! Well, maybe that’s not what was supposed to happen, but that is certainly what transpired. I mean I was livid. I don’t take defamation of character lightly. After all I was the one in the right. I hadn’t initiated the exchange, and everything I so angrily spewed was absolute truth. Ha! I was just defending myself.
WRONG! Rage is blinding. Combine that with advice from my crazy black family (I’m talking the hood ones and the not-so hood ones) and you have a recipe for meticulously executed revenge. I mean these (fill in any inappropriate term you prefer here) must pay!
Wrong. So Wrong! And I know it is. But why do I feel this way? I know better. I know I should turn the other cheek and let God deal with this issue. But I am justifiably incensed! This is the war I have been fighting all week and in all honesty, though I loved to, I can’t tell you that I somehow have peace with everything, that my anger has subsided and that I’m trusting God with everything. What I can tell you is that I now have better clarity. I can tell you that through God’s strength I have been able to keep my mouth closed and not add fuel to their fire. Just thinking about how I misrepresented God by swearing and loosing my cool, makes me want to reconsider my approach the next time something like this happens (though I pray there won’t be a next time). I do feel quite ashamed, not at the behavior of those who conspired against me, but of my response to them. At the end of the day they are not Christians. They are not walking around calling themselves Christ-like. That doesn’t excuse their behavior, but it does put mine into perspective.
I pray for serenity for the next few days. I pray for the establishment I work for and for my employer who was put in the uncomfortable position of trying to reconcile this madness. And maybe, maybe God will help me to grow enough to pray for those who incited this conflict against me…
So what should I do with the mad that I feel? I don’t think Mr. Rogers has a resolution for this one.