Anger is a powerful emotion, especially when it’s linked to something someone did to you. I personally know the power of anger – it can inspire creativity like no other emotion. Anger will make you roll your eyes, use one-finger sign language, and speak sentences that the greatest poets couldn’t arrange. One of my acquaintances was so angry at someone that he said, “If I saw him on fire on the side of the road, I wouldn’t stop to help him.” Truly, anger is powerful emotion.
Although anger is very influential, Jesus proves that it is not omnipotent. In this excerpt from the crucifixion story, Jesus had every reason to be angry. As He hung on the cross, He heard the people He came to save mocking Him. He saw the soldiers, who He gave strength to fight, gambling for His clothes. He heard a thief, who lived as long as he did because of His grace, baiting Him to save him and Himself. But instead of getting mad and throwing a temper-tantrum, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And since He was conversing with His Father, then that means He was praying. In other words, this scene is an illustrative sermon of one Jesus’ most famous teachings, “… love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” (Matthew 5:44, New Living Translation)
A quote from Tyler Perry’s “Madea Goes to Jail” features a powerful quote about forgiveness: “Forgiveness is not for them (those who offend us); it’s for you.” And it’s true, forgiveness is for us, for Jesus said, “… if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:15, New Living Translation). I don’t know about you, but I’m too mistake-prone to live without God’s forgiveness! Let’s get up from anger by forgiving those who offend us; Jesus did it, and so can we!