As a young tribal missionary wife and mother, I felt I had a right to be understood. Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? I was living with so many unknowns. Knowing my husband understood how hard I was attempting the impossible was important to me. It seemed like a legitimate right…don’t you think? It was imperative to have someone to talk to in my heart language (English). Poor Ralph…he was it! He is not a detail guy and I speak in paragraphs! My anger would reveal itself in various forms demanding his attention.Would you consider yourself an angry person?
1. Does your family (or whomever you live with) ever see you lose your temper?
2. Are you able to quickly admit when you are wrong?
3. Do you complain about how others treat you (when you’re slighted or get
your feelings hurt)?
4. Do you grumble when things don’t work out the way you planned?
5. Do you demand prompt attention from family members, friends, teachers, employers, etc.? (Do you feel hurt when others get more attention than you do!)
All five questions reveal patterns of anger that are not uncommon to all of us!
The best functional definition I have ever found for anger is:
“Someone finding a right that I have not yet yielded to God.”
Someone crossing my already decided will!
is a legal demand of our will that we impose on each other–
something, someone, or some attitude apart from God’s will.
It has its own authority with no power
It produces anger or hurt feelings
It assumes God and everybody owes us something
It refuses humility (the key to the Christian life!)
What rights do you claim?
My anger popped up more often than I care to admit. I had an unprincipled habit of making excuses or blaming others for:
Ø My Pride – reserving the right to make the final decision
Ø My Insecurity – structuring my life around temporal values
Ø My Reputation- projecting the image I wanted others to have of me
Ø My Expectations
While living in the jungle I jotted down a “few” of my rights in my journal!
I had a "right":
· To a normal standard of living
· To ordinary standards of good health
· To privacy
· To hold others to their responsibilities
· To be angry
· To make the final decision on a matter
· To judge others
· To do it my way
· To be understood (self-justification)
· To be envious or jealous
· To be uninterrupted
Do you identify with one or any of these as a daily occurrence?
By making excuses for my anger rather than tracing my “anger” to a violation of one of my personal rights, I failed to live in victory.
By calling the “right” by its name and repenting, I found freedom in a consistent Christian walk…No more excuses. I exchanged them for gratefulness and found peace!
What is the hardest right to give up?
Answer: The right to make the ultimate decision!
I continue to learn to stop before yielding to my demand for my way and put my will in neutral, acknowledging His control and His will (not mine or my husband’s). It brings harmony into my life in the midst of unknowns and confusion. My demanding to be understood is now my friend and my signal to yield to Gods Will by giving my “demand” to HIM and giving thanks instead!
In the New Testament Christ gave up:
1. His Rights- “did not consider equality with God”
2. His Reputation – “Made himself nothing, becoming a servant”
3. His Ego –“Humbled himself”
4. His Will - “Obedient unto death”!
“Who, being in very nature of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death even death on a cross.” Philippians 2: 6-8
How can we do less?
An independent, willful and demanding spirit will keep us from living in victory. Let’s choose to agree with God, call anger the sin that it is and walk as He walked, honoring the cross and remembering the price He paid for our Victory over sin! No more excuses…
~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America. Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California. My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights.