Of Anger and Mercy

I am filled with anger today and I can find all kinds of reasons why it is justified, and if I were to explain them, most would agree and might even chime in on my behalf, bolstering me in my cause and encouraging me to send the email I have drafted.

For the moment though, despite wanting to call one friend or another, to vent and to be heard and understood, I recognize that I must pray over this. I do not want to, for I may be asked to give up my anger, to set it aside, to forgive and to accept the slight, the wrong, the misdeed. I have already been too loose lipped, speaking out against this injustice to a few people who have no part in it, except to commiserate with me.

Even as I begin to pray, “Lord have mercy…” my heart stops, I take in a quick startled breath, realizing in that quick second, that moment that I am asking mercy where I am unwilling to give any. I want to plead my cause, to shout out the injustice to the one who was treated–willingly–most injustly. I envision His hands, splayed out on a rough hewn cross, blood dripping from the spikes, cruelly nailed through flesh. I see His thorn-pierced brow, and my slight, the one I did not want to give up, is fading. I was so very angry just a moment ago, but now, that anger is like a whisp of smoke, fading into the air, soon to be no more.

I look down at my hands, now stained with the soot of my anger. Oh, cleanse me, my God. Forgive me my anger, my burning, fiery temper that takes offense so easily.

O, Lord, have mercy on me. I am in desperate need of you. O, Spirit of God, that convicts me, that comforts my soul, how I need comfort now in the sight of my wretchedness. I wanted to be angry. I wanted to plead my case. I have none. Oh, Father, forgive them. They do not mean to do harm, or if they do, forgive them anyway. And me, Father…I need forgiveness most of all, I who have known your mercy, who have supped of your lovingkindness. I need your healing forgiveness. I need to be cleansed of every sin, of every stain. Teach me to walk in your ways. How I long to be a person who takes no offense, but has a heart that loves and forgives in the moment.

Have mercy.

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