When it’s time to leave for work in the morning, I slip behind the wheel of my car, turn the key, and listen to the cold engine idle.
I close my eyes and pray something like this:
This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it … and not bad-mouth other drivers. And Lord, when I do, please forgive me.
Unfortunately, it’s not long before I’m asking God to forgive me.
Like the Disney character Goofy in the 1950 cartoon “Motor Mania,” mild-mannered Ani Ma’Amin (that’s me) quickly loses patience with his fellow drivers once he gets on the road.
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Driving 5 miles below the speed limit? Hey, buddy, get out and walk!
Roll through a stop? Where’s the cops when you need them?
Cut me off? Fools step in where angels fear to tread.
Can’t figure out your turn at a four-way stop? No problem, I’ll do a crossword puzzle waiting for you to decide!
Exaggerating? Not by much.
When You Get Angry, Jesus is Right Next to You
Is this how you witness for Me?”
I sigh, shamed by my remarkable loss of patience at times.
Thankfully, God is slow to anger and quick to forgive, or I would have been toast a long time ago.
Why are we so easily annoyed, frustrated and provoked?
After all, that name on the road is not the Ani Ma’amin Highway.
I don’t own it.
If I get where I want to go 30 seconds later, is it that big of a deal?
Isn’t being courteous to others and arriving at my destination safely more important?
How we act, whether it’s behind the wheel, at work, at home, at the supermarket and even church attests to our relationship with Jesus. Tweet
As Christians, we are being sized up by friends, family, bosses, and strangers all the time.
We are a witness to Christ.
We are set apart.
We are in the world but not of it. People judge us accordingly.
Even as a Christian I find myself “slipping on the old man.”
I’m reminded of the biblical passage to “reckon the old man dead” because I am a new creature in Jesus.
“Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:11)
I reconcile myself to the fact that anger born of annoyance, frustration and lack of patience is sin.
God’s word says:
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:26-27, 31-32)
God’s Righteous Anger vs. the Anger of Our Sinful Nature
Moses got angry, striking a rock twice when God told him to just speak to it to produce water.
That burst of anger kept Moses out of the Promised Land.
God was angry at Moses for his lack of faith, and angry at His Chosen People for their constant grumbling and complaining as He led them out of Egypt.
In one of the saddest passages in the Bible, Numbers 20, God tells Moses and his brother, Aaron:
“Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”
Did you get that? Anger and lack of faith do NOT honor God.
Jesus got angry.
He was perfect.
He was fully God and fully man.
His anger was aimed at the money changers in the temple (Matthew 21:12) and the Pharisees for their hardness of heart (Mark 3:5).
Jesus didn’t get angry because he was stuck behind a slow donkey in rush-hour Bethlehem traffic :-).
Jesus was without sin.
His was a righteous anger.
Perhaps the strongest example of God’s holy anger was when He poured out His wrath on His Son Jesus, who took our sins to the cross.
Jesus took His Father’s wrath against man’s sin upon himself so that we could be forgiven.
That is righteous anger.
And it does not end there.
“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” (John 3:36)
Thank God that like Moses, we are a work in progress.
Thank God that in His infinite wisdom He knows we are prone to fail.
Thank God for His sweet love of understanding that lifts us up every time we “slip on the old man” and fall.
Truly, It’s a Daily Battle Between the Flesh and the Spirit.
The Apostle Paul admitted this much when he said:
Next time you feel someone has grieved you, bruised your ego or drives too slow in the fast lane, don’t react in a way that you become a fool in God’s eyes.
“A quick-tempered man does foolish things.” (Proverbs 14:17)
“Fools quickly show that they are upset, but the wise ignore insults.” (Proverbs 12:16)
“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to
become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous
life that God desires.” (James 1: 19-20)
When you find yourself getting annoyed behind the wheel, remember, you aren’t driving down the Ani Ma’amin Highway or Your Name Goes Here Highway.
You are ALWAYS on the Highway of Holiness, and surprisingly, there’s room for us fools as well.
“A highway shall be there, and a road,
And it shall be called the Highway of Holiness.
The unclean shall not pass over it,
But it shall be for others.
Whoever walks the road, although a fool,
Shall not go astray.” (Isaiah 35:8)
Isn’t God good?
Safe journey in Christ, my brothers and sisters … And watch that temper.