"So what are we to do? Put Tupperware bowls over every one of our buttons?" I blurted this out to my friend one day in frustration.
It flew out of my mouth before I had a chance to really think about it. While I don't like it when I fail to think things through before I say them, this was one phrase that would roll around in my mind without resting for days on end. Once said, I couldn't stop thinking about it. I could just envision a large control panel, full of buttons, maybe like the ones seen on Inside Out, only every button had a Tupperware bowl turned upside-down protecting it. Yeah, you have to be in my head sometimes!
We've all heard it said, "He/she just pushed the right/wrong button". Or perhaps, as I've said before, "They pushed ALL my buttons at once!" ALERT!!! You know, we all have those buttons. It's different for each of us, but we all have them. And...just for the record: THEY WILL GET PUSHED!
When our buttons get pushed, there will be a reaction. Always. What I was asking when I made that bowl statement was really quite simple. Maybe we've all asked these questions, perhaps just in different ways, at one time another.
- Am I allowed to get angry? I'm a Christian, after all.
- Is it OK? I'm supposed to be setting an example. I'm supposed to be salt and light.
- Should I try to be perfect enough to keep all my buttons protected? All the time? Is that doable?
The pressure is real. There are times when someone does or says something; and it just makes me downright aggravated. Even angry. I'm sure you can think of an instance quite eaisly when your buttons were pushed and you were left in a state of anger too. We live in a fallen world with imperfect people. Yes, I'm included in that stack of imperfect people too. I can push someone's button just as quickly as they can push mine. That's just the facts, ma'am.
After pondering and studying about this for several days, I have come to this conclusion: God made us with ALL of our emotions in tact. Anger happens to be one of them. Jesus even became angry at times. The Bible says to "be angry, and sin not." (Eph. 4:26) Part of the answer is that we cannot allow anger to lead to sinful actions. That is definitely wrong.
We're all going to be "anger-ized" at times. Whether intentionally or not, people and situations push those buttons and it can cause anger to spark within us. The rest of that verse in Ephesians says, "...let not the sun do down upon your wrath." You see, we all have a choice. We must choose to what degree we'll allow the anger to control and consume us.
Remember those bowls I was asking about? Another way in which our anger becomes wrong (sin) is when we turn those bowls right-side up and hold onto anger and rage with a spoon in hand - this is when it becomes sin. When, instead of allowing forgiveness to enter our hearts, we let those thoughts and feelings "stew" a bit. What we end up with then is a non-digestible, bowl-full of soup that will only give us food (heart) poisoning or at the very least a tummy ache.
So, what am I trying to say? What am I telling myself in response to my crazy-phrased question? We can't protect all our buttons all the time...there aren't enough Tupperware bowls to go around for that. Yes, we (Christians) will get angry. No, that's not a sin. It's OK even! And...as we continue to allow God to mature and teach us on a daily basis, we'll become more and more able to apply another verse in the Bible too:
"The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression." Proverbs 19:11
Growing in my walk with Jesus means that I will become angered on occasion; however, I will do my best to be balanced in my responses so that it will not become a sin factor in my life or cause hurt to others. I might not have enough bowls to cover every single button, but I will never intentionally turn the bowl over and consume from the contents of Anger Soup left unchecked. My prayer will be, "Lord, help me to be angry and sin not. Help me to grow into you so much that I'm less often angered and more often able to quickly forgive those who push my buttons."
We're fearfully and wonderfully made...with ALL of our emotions in tact. Now, grab all those Tupperware bowls in your cabinet, even those vintage gold and orange beauties. I pray we'll never look at them the same way again. Let's spread the word and start a new game with our friends and family that will be life changing and a constant reminder - "Angry" bowls!