Posted by: molly | July 7, 2010

Buckets of Sin

Some mornings I wake up angry.  As my alarm clock begins the ritual beeping I consider all the creative ways I can make it never make a sound again (you know you have all thought about different ways to smash the thing).  Woe to whoever crosses my path until I ______ (fill in the blank of what you need to do before any measure of personhood in the morning:  coffee, a morning run, etc.  For me it is my shower).  At this point, some of us are able to curb our frustration enough to enter into civil society.  The greater the morning frustration the harder it is to keep the lid on anger.  So, on those extra hard days (girls are especially prone to days of irrational anger) we tend to fly off the handle at the smallest of all things–getting caught behind a super slow driver, spilling coffee on our shirt, having a printer which is refusing to work…

Picture anger as dirt in our bucket of patience.  Some mornings all of us wake up with a bucket extra full of anger.  The smallest frustrations send dirt toppling over the sides.  For those of us who understand the biblical mandate to not be sinfully angry, this poses a problem.  In my thinking for quite some time I have understood the solution to be finding a bigger bucket.  As I upsize to an extra-jumbo sized bucket, I can fit much more anger into my bucket before it comes close to spilling over the top.  So, I beg God for a longer fuse on my stick of dynamite.  Now I have longer before I explode.

I think I’ve been missing the point.  If I continuously upsize my bucket to the point that I have a steel drum’s worth of tolerance, I have not truly dealt with the problem.  Yes, now no one will know of my sin of anger because it is rarely evident.  And yet, like an unpacked box in the back of your closet, it does not go away with neglect.  Deep in my heart I can still harbor my sin of anger while keeping an externally clean front.

I do not deny hormonal and physical effects that can cause anger (though I think PMS is one of the most widely used excuses for sin) or the fact that we all struggle to one extent or another with anger.  Yet I see that the key is not hiding it in a larger bucket.  Our sin must be address–and fought–even when no one else sees it.

I am not often prone to anger.  However, I must not use my generally laid-back personality to excuse my sin.  Though this may be my Antietam, I must not give up arms in my battle against sin.  Instead of carrying along progressively bigger bucket, we should learn to carry empty ones instead.

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