We were preparing for a skit practice and my friend was kind of in charge, but there was confusion about when we were meeting. I had hoped to have lunch with my grandma since she was in town, but my friend insisted that we had to start immediately. And so I went straight to practice, foregoing lunch and already slightly fuming. When I got there, we weren’t ready to start. Not everyone was there yet. So everyone else pulled out their lunches to eat while we waited… except me, because I hadn’t made one. My friend actually noticed me sitting off to the side and probably realized I was kind of upset, so she offered me some of her lunch.
Not going to lie: I was angry. More angry than I’ve probably been in my life, even up to now. It was to the point that it was bubbling over to unreasonable. I thought of all the little things where she hadn’t been the greatest friend. She was actually a great friend, but at that moment, I didn’t see it that way. I was stuck and didn’t want to leave my rut. I had a reason to be upset. I missed lunch with family, and it was her fault.
Several thoughts rushed to my head in a those few short seconds after she offered. First: I thought about a recent family vacation. I had made the realization that when certain people are upset, it makes everyone else upset. Anger is palpable and I remember wondering, “why couldn’t they just suck it up so that the rest of us could enjoy the vacation?” And I was struck by my own words in my moment of anger. “Are you going to spoil this practice for everyone else?”
Then I thought about anger in general, and I was reminded of a verse in Genesis. Cain, is frustrated at God and Abel his brother. But God steps in to meet with him:
“Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” – Genesis 4:6-7
And I thought of 1 Peter 5:8
“Keep awake! Watch at all times. The devil is working against you. He is walking around like a hungry lion with his mouth open. He is looking for someone to eat.”
And I suddenly realized the choice before me. There was a lion of anger beside me. (Figuratively, not literally) but it was fueling my anger to the point beyond reason. Waiting to destroy a friendship that I cherished for years.
Waiting to take control and define me.
Waiting to devour me.
But God, as He promises, didn’t leave me then. He gave me a away out; a choice.
Within those few seconds, I decided that I didn’t want to be like Cain and to let the anger go. But that wasn’t going to be enough, I had to make a physical choice as well as a mental one. Step away from the lion and towards God.
So I slid across the floor to my friend, to ask for some of her pretzels. Instantly, the anger was gone. The lion disappeared. The reasons of my anger and the rut were still behind me. But because I chose to move away from it, I was actually able to enjoy lunch with my friend and even support and encourage her as she struggled to make this skit work and bring all these people together.
I realize now that that was where I truly belonged, not in anger, but in helping someone else; in sharing God’s love and support to those around me. Because of that choice, we are still great friends today.
All of that might have been different if God hadn’t stepped in and if I hadn’t obeyed His gentle choice.