Holy one, I want to practice what I preach/write about as we begin this Holy season of Lent. [See my previous post from February 21 for reference to Galatians 5 and fruits of the Spirit.] The two words from Galatians that are speaking to me this morning are “self-control,” as one of the good fruits of the Spirit and “anger” from the list of opposites. I know righteous anger can be helpful. Jesus and the prophets frequently address their anger at injustice and hypocrisy. I don’t have a problem with that kind of anger. Mine is petty, self-centered anger over little, insignificant things that don’t go the way I think they should in my daily life.
That kind of useless anger poisons my soul. It drowns out words of grace and mercy toward others and myself. It blocks love of myself and others and even you when I blame you for the inconveniences I encounter which are a normal part of the imperfect world we live in. I know people that only see me in my pastor role or even in the good face I put on in public may be surprised that I struggle with self-control and anger. Why is it that with the one I love the most I can be the most unloving? Is it because I am tired of pretending to be the good Steve in public that I let the dark side come out as soon as I get home? Is it because I feel safe in a place of unconditional love that I let me anger and frustration get the best of my self-control? Is “self-control” itself an oxymoron or a poor choice of words to be in the good fruits list? I wonder what the Greek word that gets translated as “self-control” is, or is that an intellectual rabbit hole to avoid really looking at myself? Might it be that I really need to surrender control instead of trying like a two year old to “do it self?” As usual I have more questions than answers, but isn’t that where faith comes in? Walk with me on this journey to resurrection, Lord, as you always have. Amen