Today, I was upset with our two cats, William and Catherine. My wife, Karen, is recovering at home after having a life-threatening gallstone attack almost three weeks ago. She was vomiting bile when I called 911. She is on heavy pain medication after having her gallbladder removed. William and Catherine woke us up in the middle of the night with their constant meows. I hoped that the meowing would stop. It didn’t. I reluctantly got out of bed to see if there was a problem. There was nothing wrong. I told them both that while I still loved them, I hated their actions.
William came expecting to get his treat of a little bit of fruit yogurt. He tried to make me believe that Catherine was the only clulprit in their feline caper.. He asked for more, which I sometimes give him because I find it difficult to resist how charming our tiger-striped cat can be. I said to him in my kitty daddy voice, “William, grace says I need to give you the yogurt you don’t deserve. Your punishment so you will know what you did is wrong is that you will get no extra treats until you apologize.”
William still had to show that he has cattitude. For five hours he remained determined that he would not ask forgiveness for his actions. Then, he came to me with sorrowful eyes saying in kitty language, “Kitty daddy, I’m really sorry for my part in waking kitty mommy and you up.” I lifted William into my arms and rubbed my face into his. He started purring as I petted him. I told him all is forgiven. He gave me a kitty kiss.
Catherine is far more stubborn than her brother. Karen removed her from our bed three times to indicate her displeasure at Catherine’s part in waking us both up. As she looked at me though I did see in her pained expression that she is aware she has really messed up. Knowing her as I do in her own way and time, she will say that she is sorry.
Today and every day, let us ask ourselves where we need to show grace to others. Perhaps, someone has done something hurtful to you. This happened with a close friend of mine recently. I could in my humanity insist on my right to be right, but that is not the path God would want me to take. Grace says I love you, but not your actions. I am called not only as a Christian but also as a moral person to forgive him. I could insist that I am not in the wrong, but when I remain stuck in unforgiveness hurt wins and love loses.
Ephesians 4:26 in The New English Translation says, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on the cause of your anger.” There is the kind of anger that comes in the form of an injustice done to you or others. We need to be angry about that because it is wrong. What is wrong is having that anger smoulder inside of you until it affects your relatiionships. The tendency then becomes lashing out at the person who has hurt either you or those you care about. In our humanity we would seek to hurt those who have harmed us either with their ill-thought words, verbal and even physical abuse. According to got Questions?.org 50 percent of those who come in for counseling are having problems dealing with anger. 1 Think about that statistic for a moment. Half of those who are in counseling are dealing with anger. Is it any wonder then that there is so much anger in many marriages, families, individuals, employer & employee relationships and especially in our thoughts about the war on terrorism?
As those in the miiltary and we as civilians grapple with our feelings about ISIS and all forms of terror and abuse, let us be careful that we follow the Biblical teaching not to remain stuck in our anger. If we do that love loses and hate wins. Be angry. Speak up and say it is wrong. Hold those who harm others accountable for their actions. Yet, if I or any of us returns hate with more hate, that creates a corrosive toxin that will destroy us, those we care about and our society as hate breeds more hate, eroding away the compassion that defines us as a society and as individuals.
Thanks, William and Catherine, for challenging me to love you in spite of your actions. Thanks also for inspiring this post today. I leave you to enjoy the rest of your day or night if you are several thousand miles away in another time zone, with this thought from Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Co-authored with Karen Osborne
Kevin Osborne, B.A. in Clinical Christian Counseling St. James the Elder Theological Seminary, BTh Canada Christian College & Graduate School, D.D., D Sc., Diplomate in Creative Ministry and his wife, Karen, B.A. in Clinical Christian Counseling St. James the Elder Theological Seminary, graduate divinity student Trinity College University of Toronto, are graduate Christian counseling students at St. James the Elder Theological Seminary. Kevin is a certified Christian counselor. He is a member of The Word Guild, a Christian writer’s group in Canada.
Source: 1. http://www.gotquestions.org/anger.html