In The Other Side of Love, Gary Chapman explains that anger comes from a single source: our desire to see justice done. This is a good thing, he says, but the problem is that people have their own brands of justice, and it results in two types of anger: justified and unjustified.
Sadly, much of our anger is unjustified, which means we feel that we or someone we love has been wronged when we think we deserve better. Around Thanksgiving, Pastor Tom at Destiny in Syracuse said that we really don’t deserve anything that we get, because we can never live up to God’s righteousness.
We aren’t always justified
Our initial reaction to be angry to a situation makes us feel better and makes us feel justified and innocent. Our initial reaction is a reaction of selfishness and arrogance.
We would all like to think that our actions in this world are justified. But how often are our actions perceived by others to be wrong and unjustifiable? How do we know that the bad things we do by accident aren’t just accidents, but are character flaws instead?
A wise person thinks before he speaks. He also thinks before he acts. Unfortunately we aren’t always wise, or even humble enough to be considerate of others’ feelings. It is in human nature to sin and it therefore is also in our nature to be selfish. We want what is best for us above all else. We want to be happy. We would rarely die to save someone, certainly not like what Jesus did in the chief unselfish act of all time.
We don’t know all the sins we commit
We are all sinners. That’s just what we do. We don’t go a single day without sinning; the question is – what are the sins we commit? We may work hard to keep our words clean, our bloodstreams free of mind-altering substances, and our anger to a minimum, but still we sin, and we may not know it and we may not know how.
Feel sorry for others, not yourself
There is only one real brand of justice – God’s justice. If our judgment of justice doesn’t measure up to his, we are way off in our interpretation. That is why we must be constantly on our guard against hateful thoughts and the pride that creeps in when we are determined to be in the right.
All of us do this. We all hate to say sorry. We all hate to be the ones to sin, to cause problems, to be unjustified. So when we do something out of selfishness, we try to assure ourselves that we are justified, and that someone else is to blame. That’s why Adam blamed Eve for his first sin; that’s why Eve blamed the serpent for her first sin (Genesis 3). Our initial reaction is defense.
Sin clouds our vision so that we cannot even see ourselves clearly. Each of us does something every day to slight someone else, and we don’t know it because we are looking out for ourselves and justifying our actions as we go. If we want to be more like God and follow his brand of justice, we need to become humble toward all people, looking out for them before we look out for ourselves.
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