What makes you angry? Is it an aggressive driver who rides right on your bumper on the highway? Is it people who talk on their cell phones while conducting business in front of you while you are in line at the bank? Is it someone who is rude to a waiter or waitress in a restaurant after their food order was not served to their satisfaction?
What else makes you angry?
I had an experience recently where a person complained rather loudly in a restaurant about something that was wrong with their order. Their server checked their notes, admitted they had made a mistake, acknowledged it, apologized for it, acted on it with a corrected side dish, and applied additional generosity by presenting them a gift card for a return visit.
I sat at a nearby table, listened to this conversation and thought to myself, “What an incredible example of hospitality.” What an example of patient leadership by the server. I had been ready to raise my voice and tell the offended person to tone it down. But the waitress’ efforts far exceeded my experience and expectation of how to handle a difficult customer. I was very impressed by the young lady’s behavior and the transforming power of her kind response.
There are minor and major injustices that we see or experience every day or week. What would have happened if you had had your way in your initial response to the aggressive bumper driver, cell phone talker, or rude restaurant guest?
If you had the chance to lecture them on dangerous driving, or rude anti-social behavior to the bank teller or wait staff, what difference could it have made? How helpful or ineffective could your efforts have been? Are we afraid people do not reap what they have sown?
Read Psalm 74.
The writer of this psalm issues a prayer for God to come to the aid of his people and defend His cause in the face of the mocking by the enemies of Israel. The author remembers how invaders destroyed the temple of God. He wrote in verse ten, “How long will the enemy mock you, O Lord?”
Yet the writer also remembers how often the Lord had rescued His people from so many predicaments, perils, and places of evil, pain, and suffering. God did it again and again. The Lord is the mighty God of salvation and creation. The Lord delivered His people from Egypt. The Lord has been able to overcome all hostile powers seeking to thwart His plans and redeem His people in order to move ahead in His cosmic plan of reconciliation.
Ultimately, the author is able to keep his trust in God, while not exactly knowing when justice would arrive.
How do you react when you get mad? Justice does not always come as swift as we would like it. But it will come. The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 12:9, “that we should not take revenge, but leave room for God’s wrath.” God promised in Deuteronomy 32:35 that, “It is Mine to revenge, I will repay.” And He is much better equipped than we are to do so.
Live communally. Learn from the waitress to act with kindness and leave vengeance to God. It is often better to turn retaliation over to Him than to try and accomplish it ourselves.
Love is a verb,
©2019 by Mike Olejarz