Raging Rita

by Angie Thomas

Man, if there is ever a lesson that could nail me to the wall, it would be a lesson on anger! Let’s just say this is an area where the Lord has revealed much sin in my heart as a result of the anger and words that fly out of my mouth at times.  I had to laugh as I reread Laurie’s devotion as she talked about “Lovely Rita” turning into “Raging Rita”. How true! What amazes me at times is that I can be standing in my kitchen, singing along to some worship music, praising Jesus, and in the next second one of my children do or say something to really upset me and the words that spew out of my mouth and the tone I use are anything but worship! How sad, but true. Perhaps James struggled in this way too, because he wrote in James 3:6a, 8-10, “And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”

Laurie mentioned in that lecture that anger is often just a symptom of greater problems in our heart.  Again, James seems to have this figured out, because following the above passage in James 3:11-12 he says, Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.” James is basically saying, if your heart is righteous and pure, there ain’t gonna be any “word vomit” (as Kate called it) spewing out. But the reverse is also true.  If there is a lot of sin and unrighteousness in our hearts, there is going to be plenty of “shocking” things that come out of our mouths. Jesus aptly said in Matthew 12:34b, For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” Ouch, that steps on my toes.

My prayer ladies, is that we won’t try to just “fix” our anger by taking more deep breaths and counting to 10 before we speak.  Those are awesome ideas and should be implemented as we become quick to listen and slow to speak.  But ask God to gently reveal to you the sin behind those outbursts of anger, the jealousy or grudge you are holding, or the gossip. He is so loving and wants to cleanse you and free you from all unrighteousness.  Instead of complaining about the circumstances that might have produced these behaviors and justifying them, thank Him for allowing those circumstances, that you might have a greater understanding of your true heart condition.

I know for me, this summer the Lord really allowed me to see the often horrible way I would lash out at my children.  No surprise to anyone, they are not exactly always angels, but I was not responding to them in a biblical, loving way. I was often disciplining them in anger which is a definite affront to God’s grace extended daily to me! God sweetly and gently showed me that part of the problem with my heart in these situations was that I was still trying to live for man and not for God, basing my identity and worth on how well my children behaved instead of wholly on the truth that I am a daughter of the King, adopted into His family, a friend of Jesus.  When I bask in His amazing, completely undeserved love for me, I can love my children so much more like Him, and extend much grace because I have been offered so much!

Let’s let Him do some heart surgery on Raging Rita, girls! I know the life and abundance that will result will be well worth every temporary pain of our surgery!

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