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Without Anger

Without Anger
By Dr. John Oswalt

A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks. Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening (Acts 16:22-25 NLT).

One of my former students, call him Jim, was about 200 pages into his doctoral dissertation when his supervisor was denied tenure and had to leave the faculty. The student went to other faculty members to see if they would take on him and his project. He could not find any who were willing to take him on at all. Finally, one of them agreed, but only if the student agreed to do another project. “So,” Jim told me, “I put 200 pages of my life on the shelf and started over.”

About a year later, the new supervisor, a Jewish man, was giving Jim a ride home one evening. As they reached Jim’s house, and he was about to get out of the car, the supervisor said, “Jim, I’ve been wanting to ask you about something. I’ve been watching you. If I were you, I would be a very angry man. I would be angry at the university for dismissing my first supervisor; I would be angry at the rest of the faculty for refusing to supervise me; and I would be angry at my new supervisor, me, for requiring that you do a new project. But you’re not angry. Why not? Does it have anything to do with your Christian faith?” For an hour Jim was able to tell his supervisor about a faith that enables you to put your life into the hands of a God who has taken the griefs, the sorrows, and the injustices of life into himself, and gives back love.

How do we handle our anger? By pushing it down and sitting on it? That way is depression and death. No, we hand it over into the nail-pierced hands that have already taken it anyway, and like Jim, are free. Are you free?

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