There was a time that my only preferred option of studying the Word was to open it up and write on the notebook. Now I still enjoy this, but what I would do after would be to encode whatever I wrote down, just so that whatever I gather is shared on the interwebs.
I recently came upon an Instagram post of some dude who said that journaling was a red flag for men. Considering how I just came off of 2022, and typing enough to cover at least a thousand words for each day of the year, I was going to go ballistic… until I found out that what the dude meant by ‘journaling’ was writing your thoughts down, but keeping them to yourself. He preferred blogging over mere journaling. Now I’m not about to agree with him, but I am glad that he clarified. I chuckled as I thought, no red flag for me, thank God.
Anyway. So that’s what I was doing. Writing everything down, then encoding. I was going to do the same thing this morning. I sat down, moved the keyboard forward, opened my Bible, and took a breath. And then I thought, shouldn’t I just go straight to typing, and shouldn’t I just go straight to the Bible I have installed on the computer? I’ve dreaded doing this before, considering how much I’ve gathered from the other method, and considering what I do on the PC.
And then I thought, why am I thinking about this too much?
Be angry, and do not sin;
ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah
When my Dad was still alive, we didn’t have the best of relationships. Most of the time we’d be raising our voices – or, well, not to blame him, but he was doing most of the talking. I just seethed in anger. Then there was a time that I started to take the Word a little more seriously – the anger and the shouting was still there, but there was one time that what I was reading stuck to me, enough to step beyond just seething, and to confront my Dad.
It was evening, and everyone was more or less settling in to sleep. I just came off of yet another quarrel, but I thought it was a good idea to put the Bible into practice, keeping this aforementioned verse in mind, but more of what was indicated in Ephesians 4:26-27:
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.
Note that Ne-Yo’s song ‘Mad’ wasn’t around just yet at the time, so I didn’t really think of not going to bed (mad at him). No, I went to my parents’ room and, seeing they were still awake, I told Dad – rather, I just quoted the first part of that verse. I didn’t want to stay angry and sin. I didn’t want the sun to set with me angry. I couldn’t remember what I said after, if I apologized or if I just stopped there, not really sure what else to say. But Dad surely gave me a piece of his mind again, but this time a little more calm, with Mom around. There were times I wanted to lash out, but something told me to just shut up and listen.
Years later, after Dad passed away – in fact, quite recently, in one of my own mentor’s sermons in the service I supervise, he mentions something that I won’t be forgetting any time soon. In Tagalog, ‘i-tissue mo na lang ang issue’ (Turn your issues into tissues); or, just toss them away. You’d do better to be on the losing side of an issue if it meant preserving or helping the relationship. Prioritize the relationship.
In my own sermon I told the congregation (and consequently my team), to do the same thing: Prioritize the relationship. Don’t be so hasty to push for those ideologies and standards you have for yourself, if it means that you drive a wedge deeper in between the relationship you have with others. If I had this in mind that night I confronted my Dad, then it would have made listening to him much more fruitful, and a whole lot easier than me exerting some real effort to stay quiet.
So what’s to be done with any residual anger? Well, I suppose we ought to go back to 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (or, just 18): In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. But again, I’m not saying we go off in sarcasm, thanking God for the conflict, and the anger. No, if we actually take some deep breaths, and be silent, I believe the Spirit that we have in Christ would remind us, that even in these times of internal conflict and rage, we have peace. And we call it peace beyond all understanding for this reason: It’s present, and prevalent, even when the rest of the world expects us to explode in emotions. Not to say that emotions are bad… but we have the option to take that energy, and direct it – not to punching the wall, but to thanking God.
And indeed, in our anger, we could thank God… simply because we can be angry, and He is still with us. Patient with us. Feeling the same anger with us. The Creator of all there is, of all that is seen and unseen, takes the time, not only to acknowledge us, but to be with us, even in our confusion and anxiety, ministering to us in the best way; as He made us, so He knows what’s best for us – not just in the grand scale of things, but what’s best for us in every single second of our existence in this finite reality.
God prioritizes our relationship. And in fact, that’s precisely Christ was born, that’s why Christ lay down His life, and rose again, and ascended to heaven – to reconcile us, that we may call God more than God, but Father.
May we ponder in our beds, and be silent; May we let the sun go down… not in anger, but in peace, giving thanks to God, and giving no opportunity for the devil.
Until the next post, God bless you.
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