Frustrated. Ticked off. Offended. Upset. Enraged. Explosive.
If you’re human, then you have felt these emotions. Doesn’t matter who you are or where you are, you will feel angry at people.
Some of us grew up thinking that is was just wrong to feel this way. Wrong to even consider being angry.
That anger was actually a sin.
If you’ve fallen for these lies, please be encouraged that it’s not a sin to feel angry.
What we DO with that anger determines whether or not we’ve sinned. How we respond to it is the turning point.
We know that Jesus was without sin. He lived a perfect life. So when he overturned the tables at the temple in response to money changers taking advantage of the people, his anger was not sinful. He displayed righteous anger.
But that was Jesus. The perfect son of God.
We are human. We have this thing called a sin nature. So what are we to do with our anger?
When our loved ones do something that ticks us off. When our coworker or neighbor says something offensive. When someone dumps their responsibilities on us.
I could spend the next several hundred words talking about how to deal with anger and how to manage it in so many ways. But I’m choosing to look instead at scripture where we find truth that speaks more powerfully than anything else.
You know the sisters, Mary and Martha? Jesus was staying in their home and they each chose different paths in response to his visit. You’re probably thinking that this is where I’ll praise Mary for sitting at the feet of Jesus and scold Martha for getting too focused on the housework.
Although there are powerful lessons and even books written about balancing our Martha tendencies with Mary desires, I want to focus in on a nugget of truth that sometimes gets overlooked in this story. Don’t miss it!
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42) (emphasis mine)
Yes, Martha was distracted. Yes, Martha had her priorities out-of-order. Yes, she should have been sitting on the floor next to her sister.
But because she was human, she did get distracted and unfocused. But there’s one thing she did right.
It says, “She came to him and asked.…”
Even though Martha was angry (probably stewing on the inside), she brought it to Jesus. She took her concern to HIM.
She didn’t go straight to her sister and lash out at her. She didn’t pull Mary up by the collar and point her finger at her. She didn’t stand with her arms crossed staring down at Mary with a look that could kill.
She took her concerns straight to Jesus. She felt confident enough to speak her mind to Jesus. She was bold enough to face him with her frustrations. She was transparent enough that she felt safe enough to express her deepest emotions with the son of God.
How freeing is that? How refreshing!
That we can take whatever is bothering us straight to the foot of the cross. That we can come boldly before Him, holding nothing back. That we can come just as we are. With our frustrations. With our disappointments. With our expectations.
With our raging anger.
Yes, He can take it. He welcomes it. He longs for us to bring it all to Him instead of us unleashing it onto other people.
Martha brought her anger to Jesus. And the cool thing is that she got to hear Jesus loud and clear. She emptied herself of her emotion, putting her in a place to be filled. It might appear that Jesus rebuked her. But I think He was redirecting her.
He lovingly told her she was upset and worried about other things, and to follow the example of her sister. But don’t walk away from this familiar story without grasping the truth that Martha brought her messy emotions…..to Jesus.
Where are you today, dear friend? Do you have any frustrations or unmet expectations on the verge of explosion? I encourage you to take them to the foot of the cross. Take them and pour them out. Empty yourself face-to-face with Jesus. He wants you to be real.
And just like Martha, He’ll show you the next step you need to take.
Blessings to you!