God is Angry with the Wicked Everyday
Sunday at 9:30
That’s a church sign I saw while driving my mom to the doctor last week. It really gave me pause. I can’t imagine an angry God. I know the Bible is full of angry God stories, but I didn’t really grow up hearing those stories much. My great-grandmother read me other stories from the Bible. Tales of mother’s love, and animals going two by two. She never emphasized punishments or anger. I guess I was lucky that way.
We all feel anger of course. Sometimes it’s little things and we call it annoyance or irritation, sometimes it’s big things and we call it rage. Whatever the temperature, we all feel it. The question is, what do we do with it? Do we throw “lightning” and punish like the Old Testament God? Do we internalize it and let it eat us alive? Or do we face it head on and learn to observe it and let it cool so we can perhaps use its energy for good in our lives? It’s a question we each have to answer every time we get angry.
God comes to know itself better through our lives, that means through our emotional lives too. How we handle our anger is a window into how we keep the conduit open or closed to God. Are we constricting ourselves with an out of control emotional life? Or are we allowing ourselves to expand with a wide open line to God and a well observed emotional life? We get to make those choices everyday.
So, which would you rather? A constrained life or an expansive one? Which do you think you deserve? The joy is in having the power to answer those questions all the time. I wish you peace.
What emotions can you name beyond happy, mad and sad? I’ll bet you came up with at least a couple. Most of us don’t have a vast vocabulary for our emotional landscape though. That’s too bad, because the better we can describe our emotions the more we learn about ourselves, others and God.
You know, I’m so excited for the Summer of Joy at Center for Spiritual Living Parker! We’re planning so many exciting things! There will be a lot of emotions involved too though. There will be lots of change. We’ll be meeting new people, doing different things, and seeing old friends again.
Most of those emotions will be positive ones. There will be joy, excitement, happiness, wonder, awe. We’ll feel exuberance at sharing our Center with new people. We’ll burst with jubilation when an old friend walks through the door again. But some of our emotions may be difficult. We may be uncomfortable, even scared with all the change. We may have frustration with some of the people that come back.
All of this is valid and important. All of these emotions, if we will have the courage to stay in them and feel them, can help us learn about ourselves and heal ourselves too. We can learn empathy and compassion while we’re at it. So in that respect, our own emotions can teach us about others.
I also know that the biggest lesson my emotions, my difficult emotions especially, teach me is about God. What’s that lesson? I have free will. I can run from those emotions or stand in them and learn from them. God doesn’t force me one way or another. It’s hard, but I try to stay in them and learn.
As I stretch to expand my vocabulary to better describe my emotional landscape, I learn more and more about myself, others and God. We aren’t just mad, happy or sad. We’re excited, overwhelmed, awed, surprised, discouraged, confused, curious, full of wonder, amused, nostalgic, hurting, hopeful, sympathetic, suffering, trusting, joyful, relieved, tranquil, disgusted, prideful, loved…