On Tuesday something happened that left me with an unchristian anger, bordering on hate. It was an incident where I perceived the selfishness of others directed towards my family. What made my emotions so intense was that it was by done by people close to our family, and to me it showed complete disregard for the fact that we had just buried our Mary Grace not four days earlier.
Robert tells me that I wear my heart on my sleeve. When I have offended someone, my heart is very troubled until I have made amends, and I guess some part of me believes this should be true of everyone. I was having a very difficult time letting go of my anger over this. I felt hot, I'm sure my blood pressure shot up, my body was fuming. I wanted to seethe and rage over it in my heart.
What do you do with these feelings? That's what I asked God and I pleaded with Him to relieve me of this heavy anger. Although I felt it was a "justified" anger because I felt very wronged, it was still anger and hateful feelings that are incompatible with the Christian life I am called to live. We all have initial "gut" reactions to things that happen. I think that's natural; it's human. But it's what we do with those feelings after the initial period. Do we recognize that sustaining feelings of anger and hatred can ruin our soul? That it draws us away from the heart of Jesus? Yes. God allowed me to quickly realize that my hateful feelings were sinful and that I needed to ask for forgiveness and repair my relationship with God. But after recognizing that I wanted to choose Jesus, to choose love, there was still the question of "what to do with my anger?". Rationally, I knew I shouldn't encourage it, but I needed to do something with it. And then I read a card that a lady wrote to my parents and it started to make sense: (I hope she doesn't mind me quoting her sweet card)
"This is a miracle we can't understand, for God alone knows what this little life and her parents have suffered (and continue to suffer) for the Glory of His Kingdom and the salvation of souls."
The act I perceived as offensive and selfish caused us suffering. And what can I do with the angry feelings and suffering I have? I can offer it up to Jesus, and I can know that my suffering- whether it is a giant suffering like the loss of our baby or the suffering after someone does something hurtful- it is used to further God's Kingdom. We join our sufferings to those of Jesus. My suffering on it's own is nothing without Christ's Sacrifice, but when I join my suffering to Christ's sufferings it benefits others and helps to build up the Body of Christ.
1 Peter 2:19-22 says: 19For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. 20But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
So Lord, today I offer my sufferings, and they are so little when compared to Your Suffering, but I offer them to You as a sacrifice, united to Your Own Sufferings. Please use it for Your Will and help me to remember to offer my entire life to You everyday: my works, my joys, my sufferings. Yes Lord, I will drink the cup of your suffering with you. Help me more fully unite myself to You.