Jesus says, "Don't let the sun go down upon your anger." In other words, "Don't go to bed angry." Or, put another way: "Let go of it. Drop it. Put it behind you." Better yet, was "forgive your enemies."
Anger has a lot to do with our expectation of what we want from others. And how we feel when we don't get that.
Usually, people's motives are not nearly what we think they are. A sad divorce happened in a family near to us. Two young boys were farmed out to grandparents. Those who received one of the lads did it with love, feeding, housing, and comforting him.
He received it from his grandmother. But, toward his grandpa there was resentment - despite a history of twelve years of comradeship between them.
Something had happened to the grandpa, despite their fishing expeditions and other times together. Tragedy had befallen the competent, creative, strong grandfather. A surgically replaced knee became infected and was removed. A wheelchair came on the scene. Hospitals were a factor for two years. The world offered sympathy, but the grandfather was offered resentment from the 12-year-old who loved him and was now living in his home.
There were rages and outbursts from the boy. His world had fallen in. No more fishing and friendship. The grandpa was weakened, no longer seen as his grandson's champion.
The grandparents feel dismay, but they carry on. There seems no logic in the twisted feelings. How could this be?
A 12-year-old boy had expected so much - a home, loving parents, affection, support. Instead, a broken home. And worse, the grandfather, the beloved champion, was wounded, and the boy felt alone.
Expectations dashed. Too much for a kid to understand. He only knew his own world had fallen apart. What he had hoped could be his help, now needed help.
We saw that in our work in Rwanda, the land of the Genocide. Fathers were emasculated, made helpless, diminished before their own families. Expectations were dashed. Forgiveness was too hard to find. Healing seemed beyond help.
How complicated it is, what we expect of our dear ones. How often those expectations need to change, and a new faith needs to enter the picture. The factor of forgiveness and new understanding, and a new call, for love.
May we be the bearers of that love, in our time.
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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ARTHUR ROUNER MINISTRIES