“Hurry up kids. We’re late.”
“We’re coming, Mom. Grab your Bible, Marcus.” Shelly practically pulled him out the door.
Jennifer backed out of the driveway and sped toward the freeway. “Where is all this traffic coming from. It gets worse every day. And look at that.” she said pointing to a red Honda cutting in front of her after passing on the right. “No signal. It’s probably some teenager.”
A mile or so further, a woman pulled along side of them and weaved into their lane. Jennifer turned to scowl at the driver and yelled, “Cell phones! No wonder people don’t know what they’re doing on the highway.” She shook her head back and forth as the other driver stared at her before giving Jennifer a vulgar signal with her hand.
“Mom, stop provoking her. You’ve made her mad and she’s flipping you off. Watch out, you’re going too fast.” Shelly screamed as Jennifer slowed down.
“You’re scaring me, Mom.” Marcus clutched his Bible to his chest. “Please be careful.”
Jennifer felt ashamed and asked the kids to forgive her. She said a quick prayer asking God to help her to be patient and keep them safe the rest of the way to church.
Arriving 10 minutes late, they scooted silently into the back pew and listened as Pastor Ray continued his sermon.
“…Yes, it’s true that Jesus displayed anger in the temple that day. He became emotional when he saw the money changers, and the merchants taking advantage of the worshippers. He was infuriated because they were making a ‘house of prayer’ into a ‘den of robbers’. (Matthew 21:12-13)
Now, I want you to know that anger, in and of itself, is not bad. In fact, it is a gift from God. However … anger does require patience and restraint.”
Jennifer listened as clergyman talked about the frustration that Moses had when he came to the much-needed spring of water only to find it dry, and how he lost his cool and began beating on the rock with his rod. Pastor Ray also spoke of the time that John got fed up with the opposition and asked God to send fire from heaven to destroy them.
“It just so happens,” the preacher said, “that there are a lot of angry people ‘right here in River City’. We have postal workers shooting fellow employees, athletes exploding in games, drivers boiling over on the freeway. Some of those angry people happen to be our work associates, our family members, fellow Christians…and even ourselves.”
Jennifer snapped to attention as she remembered the race to be on time for the church service. She noticed Shelly and Marcus and the sideways glances they gave her.
“We are told in Nehemiah chapter 9, verse 17, that God is slow to anger. Scripture teaches us that He is long on patience but that he does get angry and that He encourages us to get angry, too - if it is about sin. But, He wants us to think before responding and chose proper expressions when we do. In order to do this, we need to study the Bible, pray for patience, give ourselves in service to others, and develop friends who by heir example exhort us to excellence…we need to ‘walk in the Spirit’.”
Pastor closed with, “If God did not have divine patience, we sinners would receive His wrath rather than His mercy. We need to count our blessings and look to God’s Spirit for the strength and desire to funnel our frustrations and anger into patience and love. It would perhaps be helpful if we posted 1 Corinthians 13: 5 “Love is not easily angered” on our mirror, dashboard or computer screen to remind us of God’s undeserved love and our need to reciprocate.”
It was not with a good feeling that Jennifer finally left the building for the parking lot. She was deep in thought as she silently thanked God for giving her just the right scripture today.
Sometime later, Jennifer quietly announced to her children, “I’m going to be joining a bible study group at church that meets on Tuesday nights starting next week.” Getting no response, she continued, “It’s the study of James and is entitled ‘Slow to speak, slow to anger’ … I thought it might help me with my - road rage.”
Shelly and Marcus smiled at each other as they relaxed in their seat belts for the ride home.
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