It’s Just My Nature
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. Proverbs 14:12
During the summer, I try to ride bike once or twice a week, but lately I’ve had an inordinate number of mechanical issues. Yesterday then, I filled my tires, checked things over and when I went to ride, I had yet another flat tire. I got angry . . . and said some bad words.
Though I didn’t lash out at anyone, my anger derailed my mind. I usually use my riding time to meditate on the day’s passage but yesterday, I was in no condition to do this. As I was riding I was preoccupied by anger. But God, I can’t help it. I’m just so frustrated.
I’ve often heard counselors insist that anger is not right or wrong, that it is just an emotional response that we can’t really control. For me though, my anger is usually an unhelpful, destructive response that I do not desire. It may be entirely natural, but it is my nature to indulge in self-destructive behaviors.
Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly (Proverbs 14:29). Today’s passage insists that my natural response leads to destruction. But it’s my nature. What can I do?
I may not be able to control the initial impulse of anger, but I am absolutely responsible for my response. I can, like a drug, indulge in my anger, allowing it to overthrow my mind, or, I can interrogate my anger. Am I justified? Am I being a big boy baby? How would a mature person respond?
Like a drug, when I give in to my anger, I surrender control the next time. When I choose to act rightly though, I am in far better control next time. In this sense, I am responsible for that initial impulse of anger, as my previous behavior impacts my future response.
Just because something is natural for me, does not make it helpful or right. If I desire to be wise and if I desire to follow Christ instead of myself, I must continually abandon my destructive nature to follow Him.