Monday, October 19, 2009

Your "Ugly" Face

Your "Ugly" Face
September 21, 2009
James 1:20 " . . . anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires."

You've got an ugly face; we all do. It's that face we all make when we get angry. We've seen it on others a thousand times. It is funny to see a re-enactment of someone in their full anger, watching as they make a fool of themselves, seeing the look on their face. We laugh because they are displaying the immaturity that we secretly wish to unleash more times than we care to admit. Hopefully, there is an emotional epiphany that releases when you watch someone else in their folly, demonstrating their anger in a tirade that accomplishes nothing. Mostly, we stand back and fold our arms in a self-righteous manner, claiming that we would never act in that way. After all, we can hold it together, they have real problems. And that is the trap that Satan tries to cast before us, deceiving us into thinking that we have it all together and that our anger isn't a problem.

But every once in a while, you put your ugly face on and make a fool of yourself. Your family sees it far more often than we do, but it's there. It's that face you make when you're angry, your eyebrows tense, your lips purse, and your nostrils flare. It happens when a telemarketer calls during dinner. It happens when someone cuts you off in traffic. It happens when someone at work has something bad to say. It happens when your spouse or children pushes that right button. Suddenly, without any notice, your ugly face comes out. It's like a mask that takes the beauty from your face, covering it with a monster. At least that's what God sees when He looks at your heart while you are acting in your anger. You're allowed to feel anger inside, but acting on it is another story.

You may not feel you have an anger problem, but that is when it becomes a problem. You see, if you are not constantly on guard against managing your anger (and anger IS a feeling you will experience at least once this week), it will come out like an unexpected scare-crow, the uninvited poltergeist. Anger, at least acting in your anger, does not please God and is the antithesis of His righteousness. But, the good thing about anger is that you can feel it coming on; you know when it's about to hit, when it's about to blow. It starts as a grumbling in your belly and rolls around for a few moments in your gut. It begins to slowly erupt like a volcano before it overflows through your face, your ugly face. If you can recognize this feeling, you can nip it in the bud, your anger, that is.

If you don't nip it in the bud, it can only lead to bad things, this thinking of your anger not actually being a problem. In the Bible, anger is described several hundred times; most of the instances the sentences also contain the word "burn." Look it up. Anger burns. It starts out so small, a simple little instance of anger, like a spark, but when left unchecked, it can rage like a forest fire. God's anger, when it is unleashed in the Bible, doesn't simply burn, it burns to the point of consuming. Our anger will also do just that, it will consume us. This should make you think twice before putting on your ugly face.

The Bible gives an antidote to your ugly face, a solution to acting in your anger. The Bible says that peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. This is what God desires. He wants you to be a peacemaker; this will change the whole countenance of your face. It's time to stop putting on your ugly face and start sowing peace. The next time someone cuts you off in traffic, figure out a way to make their day better (and NOT by telling them they are #1). The next time your spouse pushes your buttons, figure out a way to make their life easier. The next time someone says something bad at work, figure out a way to bless them. After all, no one else wants to see your ugly face, especially God.

1. When are you most prone to putting on your ugly face?
2. How can you sow peace in those moments?
3. How can you sow peace in all the areas of your life?

Add. Scriptures for Study: Matt 5:9, Eph 4:31, James 3:18, 1Tim 2:8

No comments: