“Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me (Psalm 142:7).”
Today I was finally cold. Having moved from Finland, a rather frigid place in the winter, the below freezing temperatures and snow of my new abode in SW Virginia haven’t affected me, until today.
I was sitting in a Starbucks this morning, next to a window, wearing a winter jacket. Yet, I was cold. A strong wind blew in here yesterday and remnants of it are still around. It didn’t bother me yesterday, although I knew others were suffering. (I saw one poor student of ours from the Middle East enter our building and he looked miserable. He was a far cry from the arid desert of his home land.) But today it finally got to me.
This cold wind is a good illustration of the effect I have on my family when I lose my temper and speak out of rage. Proverbs says,”He who brings trouble on his family will inherit only wind…” (Proverbs 11:29). That’s what I produce when I speak out in anger with my wife and children. I issue a cold gale that blows them away and chills the atmosphere.
Sometimes I hate being me. I call myself a believer in Jesus Christ, yet I at times act like I never met Him. I am just as godless as the next guy.
What does it mean to be godless? Well, the same author of the wisdom I just quoted says that a godless person destroys people with his or her mouth (Proverbs 11:9). A godless person is without understandiing, otherwise he or she wouldn’t belittle other people (Proverbs 11:12). The venom of an ungodly person not only affects their loved ones. Others in their community who have to live with them are also poisoned by their godless rants.
My own sin is harder to deal with than the lousy circumstances I am currently experiencing. This morning I cried out to God for mercy, as the Psalmist did (Psalm 142:1,2). Crying out for mercy was about the only thing I had strength for. I managed also, however, to complain, not only about the tough times, but also about my own behavior. At the bottom of my despair, I know I can always turn to God for help (Psalm 142:3).
Underneath, in the murky seabed of my heart, I want to be righteous. That’s why I get so frustrated with my failings. And that’s why I turn to the only righteous Person I know for help, Jesus Christ. He’s my hero. He loves righteousness and hates wickedness (Hebrews 1:9). Since I know this to be true of Him, I can go to Him for advice on how to deal with my own ungodliness.
I believe I have been doing pretty well in controlling my angry outbursts of late. But then I have days like yesterday. The hope I have is that although I may change, Jesus never does (Hebrews 1:12). I know can run to Him for mercy and assistance.