What Jack Shephard and God have taught me about anger.

“Ineffective as it is to shout, scream, and curse, it is a means of reclaiming the illusion of power in the face of feeling impotent.” (The Cry of the Soul).

When it comes to non-fiction, I’m a chronic multi-reader. I juggle between several different books, and I often take long breaks from a book before picking it back up again. I think it’s because I’m a slow reader, and I take a lot of time to process the information. I can’t move through a book too quickly or I won’t retain what I’ve learned.

I’m back to reading The Cry of the Soul again. I love this book for it’s clarity in defining the difference between righteous anger and unrighteous anger. I’ve always known the verse in Ephesians that says, “In your anger do not sin,” but I could not wrap my head around such a concept. I could be angry without sinning? It just didn’t seem possible to me.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I’ve been feeling as if God is pulling off the scab of a wound. In my recovery I have made it to Step 6: We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. While great changes have occurred in my life through recovery, I have also sensed my own passivity in the process. In many way I have been going through the motions – though faithfully and sincerely.

However, this week I have felt God awakening me to the utter desolation of my anger, the crushing blows it lands upon my children, and the deterioration of my soul from the guilt. Yet in this exposure to my darkness I have not felt condemned, but rather rescued. For what kind of recovery can I continue to participate in if I remain in denial of the effects of my sin? How can I truly be ready to put this behind me if I am not completely sickened by my behavior? Passive recovery allows for too much ambivalence – if I’m not so bad, then what harm could one more ‘episode’ cause?

Even after so many years on this journey with my God, I am still amazed by how he walks with me in a way that makes me feel as if we’re going steady and there is no one else in the world who can turn his eye from me. His patience with me has been everlasting. He has not forced or persuaded, begged or pleaded. He has simply been quietly loving me as I walk through the pain of my own self discovery.

And now God has taken the opportunity of Step 6 to reveal exactly which character defects he would like to remove. He has torn back the scab that covered the ugliness of my anger. It is now a gaping wound I cannot ignore. He has opened my eyes to my sin and lovingly asked, Are you ready?

Last night as I watched the season 3 premier of LOST, I was personally moved by the inner struggle of Jack as he found himself trapped in a room with a glass wall. The quickened breathing, the raised voice, the pursed lips, the wide eyes, the defiance against all reason – all tell tale signs of a man trying to maintain the illusion of control, even in the midst of captivity.

Watching those scenes helped me understand what Bryan sees when I am maniacal, because in the moment I do not understand that my behavior is irrational. In the moment all I know is that I must, at all cost, win to survive.

But now, I find that I am ready to submit. I am ready to put my back against the wall. I am ready for God to clean the wound.

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