I used to think I was so holy because I never got angry. No yelling. No snarling. No harrumphing. No choice four-letter words.
Yet inwardly? My anger swirled my thoughts. He’s such a jerk. It unfurled in my behavior. Back to back in bed. It twirled off my tongue. Yes, honey. You’re right, honey.
Huh?! If I said, “You’re right, honey,” what’s the problem? The problem: I failed to speak the truth in love because I was not speaking.
Lucy the Clam. Yep, that was me.
What rooted my self-righteous clamminess? Pride.
But it worsened by my misreading of a scripture verse. When the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus, he said, “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ” (Eph. 4:15) I had read this verse a gazillion times — smugly, I admit — tricking myself into believing that because I didn’t speak angrily (remember, I didn’t speak at all) I expressed love.
Bonk! Then one day our ever faithful God hit me upside the head and spoke to my heart, “Lucy, speak the truth in love. When you don’t speak, you aren’t loving. You’re hateful.” My hackles rose up. I began to argue with God, then paused.
“He has a point,” I admitted.
A funny thing about sinful anger is it has two extremes. Either the angry person blows up (or “ventilates” and the emotion fires toward others or the situation with little control) or she clams up (or “internalizes” and the emotion slams into one’s own self). Clamming up makes one irritable, tense and miserable. She is not good company.
Clamming up leads to bitterness and resentment.
The reason I didn’t speak — or pretended nothing was wrong, as in “You’re right, honey” — was because I didn’t want to deal with my anger. The Bible warns against this. Paul writes, “In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold” (Eph. 4:26,27).
Yikes! I played footsy with the devil!
So what’s a girl to do? First, I need to focus on the problem that occasioned the anger. Then I can constructively solve the problem (and not attack my sweet honey!). Next, I am able to confront lovingly. Depending on the cause of the anger, this may mean a loving rebuke or forgiving someone from my past or recognizing I misunderstood the other’s intent.
Anger is a powerful emotion. In itself this emotion is not sinful. Jesus expressed anger, remember? What’s important is how you and I handle it.
Yes, speak the truth in love. Speak! No clams allowed.
As for the volcanoes that blow hateful lava?
Let’s talk about it another day.
You are so loved,
Please visit me at http://www.lucyannmoll.com/