Being hurt or angry doesn’t mean you are bitter as bitterness requires you to hate. To those that hate, look inward as the bitterness you sense in others might simply be the stench of your own caustic guilt.Expressing your anger with another just means that you’re healthy and confident enough to communicate that another’s will is not welcome in your personal universe.
In honor of my Stepdad Tony’s birthday in heaven, I wanted to share one of my favorite stories is about him. When I was about 10 years old, it was a beautiful spring day, in Lynden, WA. The sun was shining with a soft breeze. Tony and I had been planting trees(more like sticks we had ordered from the back cover page of The Family Weekly magazine) and we took a break. We sat on the soft pine needled ground under the shade of a big tree. Cars zipped by on Northwood Road. We were enjoying a Shasta soda talking about how nice the weather was.
Suddenly I felt something biting me on the legs, I jumped up, started dancing around, brushing away the ants that had crawled up my pant leg. Tony and I both burst out in laughter in response to my unscheduled ants in the pants routine. You always knew when Tony was busting a gut laughing as he sounded like Frank Burns of the TV series M*A*S*H. As I sat back down, Tony was still chuckling as he took a drink of his pop, “Oh Ray, I’m sorry haha but man that was funny”…suddenly his face had a startled look, he started spitting out soda as he scrambled to remove the ant that was now biting his lip.(apparently one had crawled on his can)
I cherished the times we would work on thing’s together, I learned by doing with Tony. Including learning how to laugh at yourself. RIP Tone, Love Ya Man and Happy Birthday.
Recently I came across a few forums supporting the argument of not taking up the offenses of others i.e. ….fight your own battles. Additionally, 1Thessalonians 4:11 states:“Do all you can to live a peaceful life. Take care of your own business, and do your own work as we have already told you”.
In other words mind your own business. I couldn’t agree more.
However, human decency dictates that it is your responsibility to stand up for those without a voice or being treated unfairly. In my humble opinion, that should be your business.
Years back I took an ethics class where the curriculum was structured around ethical questions such as your stand on abortion, corporate accountability, etc… What I truly enjoyed about the class was there were no wrong answers/opinions.
The objective was to peel back the layers of laissez faire positions on posed ethical questions. I was surprised by the level of passion throughout the class as we became ethically self aware. Recent events in my life have brought me to a similar place, I felt spirituality mature enough to stand with those I felt had been wronged and although it happened to be my job to protect them, it was much more than that. Not only was it my ethical responsibility as Christian, even more so as a fellow human being.
My position doesn’t mean I am right, but simply striving to be true to where l feel an ethical line should be drawn. Peace and may God have mercy on us all.
For the most part I try my best to entertain uplift and be a support for others. Selfishly it fills my cup 🙂 Simply put, a form of social ministry. Good or bad I also strive to be honest and transparent. Recently I have felt a level of anger to where I wished ill will on others. As anger grew inside of me, I could hear the chains of hate and revenge rattling forth binding my inner peace that I cherish. I have unfriended ignored and avoided people I once considered friends. When I was a young child, I witnessed a lot of violence, abuse, and the like. During my adolescent I did my best to avoid confrontation perhaps as a defense mechanism.
As a survivor, over the years, I have learned that confrontation is not bad if you come with when your intentions are honorable and are calm enough to let others be heard as well. How does the saying go? “Stand up for what you FEEL is right”….perhaps that is where the anger and frustration comes from. I FELT I did just that. Unfortunately there is also the saying (probably Dr Phil) “Feelings aren’t right or wrong, they just are”.
I think it is fair to say that as compared to the average population these practiced “believers” are convicted and Passionate in what they believe and feel, Passionate in Love and if evil has its way, “Passionate in Anger”.
Peace and May God Bless Us all. Amen.
Contemplating my next post which are typically comprised of those who have shaped my outlook on life, none have yet to be my junior. Pastor David O’Toole is the exception. I can only tell my story and will not give mention to those of a contrary opinion as this is not a pity party but rather a tribute to a good man.
Over 10 years ago I sat in the back of our local church praying for my one of my three sons to find a path to peace. Zachary as many 14 year olds was an angry you man trying to find his way. Zach recently had moved in with my wife and me in our small Ohio town. A glimmer of solace was listening to Zachary teaching himself guitar. It never dawned on me that God was about to answer my prayer.
David had been hired as a youth minster but also played in the worship band. He seemed preoccupied with his teen group and committed to his duties. I can remember we were in the church gym when I had the opportunity to talk to David about Zachary. I explained some of his struggles and his interest in guitar. David took Zachary under his wing and as any mentor, Zach was not always happy with David and probably vice versa but the relationship was genuine and grew strong to this day.I had the privilege of watching the band Strength Within, a Hard Core Christian band perform in which David was the lead singer and Zach eventually would play guitar in. I appreciated the edginess and the youth that attended the performances. It opened my eyes to a Christ worshipping raw subculture that did not tolerate hypocrisy. I was impressed.
During one of the youth summer trips David asked me to do all the cooking and it was then I saw his talent for organizing events. “Ray” he said, “there are three key factors that make or break a youth trip, the food, the location and the activities.” I still chuckle to day thinking about. “on that last day I want some much food, like a half chicken each for the kids,,,snacks at 11,” ….Good memories.
Once I had the honor of speaking to a recover group in which I whole heartily gave my testimony of my experience as the child of and addict. I mean I felt like I had given part of my soul away. The next day I was riding with David to lunch and I was explaining how I felt. He called it an “Emotional Hangover” , where you so much of yourself away that the next day you can physically and mentally feel the effects. This gave me a small glimpse of what pastors must experience on Monday mornings.
I could go on about others that I know David has effected positively but as for me I am forever grateful that God used Pastor David O’Toole to deliver my son who is now, Pastor Zach Roy, to us so many years ago.
Thank you David O’Toole and May God Bless you.