Now I know that envy isn’t what my Father wants from me but not all envy is that bad.
I sometimes wish I could be the guy in the line at Home Affairs/Bank/Traffic licensing office…who isn’t getting riled at the inefficiency or the seeming absence of any commitment to serve others – I envy that guy who’s just calmly sitting there even seemingly enjoying the time away from tasks!
I sometimes wish I could be the guy of the squash who is playing top squash but just seems to be having fun and isn’t affected by dodgy referring calls – I envy that guy sometimes.
Scripture is so life-giving and practical. Just yesterday I read again that;
“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” Proverbs 19:11 ESV
Now although I am who God’s made me and that includes all my physical, mental & personality attributes, Scripture also teaches me that who God made as Gareth – was tainted, marred by the Fall. I am created in His image but that image needs restoring/re-moulding which is what happens daily as I listen to God through Scripture and obey the Holy Spirit’s promptings.
So when I say I am envious of someone else’s calmness in certain settings I am not expressing dissatisfaction with who God made me but rather dissatisfaction at the particular effect of sin in my life. I see something of the image of God in that other person (regardless of whether they are a believer or unbelievers) and it draws me into the Holy Spirit inspired restoration God wants to do in me!
Hence, when I read this verse it doesn’t condemn me but calls me into what I know the Father wants to be in me by in terms of restoration. As I read and listened to the Holy Spirit these were my personal reflections from this passage:
Anger that is ‘in-the-moment’ is bad sense because:
1) Anger clouds my vision
2)Anger predisposes me to making rash assumptions regarding motives, meaning…
3)Anger makes me the focal centre rather than making God and others the focal centre
4) Anger is a slippery slope towards me sinning even when I have been sinned against
So how can I apply this to my life?
Step 1: Identify the emotion (anger) early, report it to yourself
Step 2: Pause, count to three (seriously do it Gareth)
Step 3: Consider – What is making me feel this way? Have I misunderstood? Is God’s perspective and the other person’s perspective being valued by me? Is this worthy of godly anger?
Step 4: Is this something I can overlook? After all to do so would be to my benefit. Or is it necessary confront but doing so slowly and in love, full of grace and truth?
For me, being quick to anger has been one of the old sin patterns God has been remounting me in making me more like the most incredible man who ever lived – Jesus.
As a son of God, I want to be like my Father who time and time again is described as follows;
“…you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people.” (Jonah 4:2)
Father, today I want to be more like you, I want to identify, pause, consider & overlook where that is truly possible or confront in love full of grace and truth where necessary. Amen.