"Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you."
Colossians 3:13, New International Version
"Touch" - To cause or permit a body part, especially the hands or fingers, to come in contact with, and then to feel or have an emotional effect on someone.
Is there a place in my life where my anger threatens to destroy my happiness?
"Anger" - A feeling of great displeasure, hostility, indignation or exasperation.
"Lord, grant that anger or other bitterness does not reign over us, but that by your grace, genuine kindness, loyalty, and every kind of friendliness, generosity, and gentleness may reign in us. Amen."
Martin Luther, Germany"
INSPIRATION: "Jesus' touch will dissolve our anger."
Several weeks ago, I ordered an item through the Internet. When I received the box, everything in it was smashed in little pieces. I was sorely disappointed because the box contained a little piece of china that went with a set of dishes I have collected for a long time. I was so anxious to receive the new little dish and, to my dismay, it was irreparable.
My emotions would have been limited to disappointment if it weren't for the fact that the dish was packed so sloppily. It should have been obvious to anyone that the packing was poor. Any bumping or dropping of the box could potentially damage the contents. To make matters worse, I could tell that the words FRAGILE, written on the box, meant nothing to the delivery service, for one side of the box was smooshed like an accordion.
To be quite frank, I was very unhappy with the person who sent the item and even more upset with the person who left the damaged box at my front door, hurrying back to the safety of his truck and speeding away before I could wave him down.
As I thought about the situation in light of our devotionals, I was struck with how a pesky inconvenience affected my emotions. But just think how you would feel if for 12 years you had been going from one medical specialist to another with no cure in sight. Then one day, the girl at the front desk informs you, "Dr. Joseph won't see you anymore, that is until you pay your old bill!"
"But, I've run out of money," you plead.
"Well," she says, "then you've run out of luck, too. We don't work for free. We have to eat. If you can't pay, we won't see you today."
The Bible doesn't tell us how the woman who was bleeding reacted when her money ran out and her medical care stopped. I think if I had been in her shoes, I would have been angry, for unresolved disappointment can often turn into resentment which can blossom into anger. One thing leads to another. And when anger takes hold, we better look out.
Not long ago I read a story about an eagle that swooped to the ground, catching a weasel in its powerful talons. But as the eagle flew away, its wings suddenly went limp, and it fell to the ground like a rock. What happened? The weasel had bitten its nemesis in midair, killing the proud eagle as it flew.
Hanging onto anger, even allowing it to hibernate in our lives, is dangerous. For when we least expect, like the weasel, it will sink its lethal teeth into us, where and when we are the most vulnerable, and the results can be devastating.
This may be why Jesus spent a great time here on earth talking about anger and hate and the cause and result of letting these emotions grow in our souls. Jesus boldly pointed out that anger can erupt in these specific ways: "hatred toward a brother," "hatred turned inward at ourselves," and "hatred turned upward at God."
Let's take a look at these three releases for anger that could easily have happened, but didn't, in the life of the hemorrhaging woman.
1) She could have been angry with others. She may have had every right in the world to be furious with her doctors. They had taken her money and she was still sick. She may have been upset, too, with the religious leaders who banned her from the Temple. And who knows how she felt about her family - after 12 years of being called "unclean" they may have abandoned her, too. This is a recipe for bitterness, resentment, and anger.
2) She could have been angry with herself. Since the Bible doesn't tell us the what or why of her bleeding, and since illness at that time was thought to be because "you" had done something wrong, who knows if she could have turned her anger in on herself, thinking that one of her acts had caused this problem. As I read this week, even in our current culture, some religious groups blame the problem of infertility on "loose" women's behavior, as one "preacher" put it.
3) She could have been angry with God. "Why did God let this happen to me? Where is He when I need Him? It's not enough I'm bleeding and feeling horrid all the time, now I am poor, too. All my money is gone! What kind of a God punishes you with sickness and doesn't answer your prayers? What kind of a God lets me down?"
I'm not saying this lady had any of these feelings. What I am saying is that she may have. It would be natural. I'll even go a step further. If I had been in her shoes, in all honesty, I believe I would have been a very angry person - angry at the doctors, at myself, and, while I was at it, God would have heard about my anger, too.
However, rather than take the pain of this situation out on others, this lady took her pain to Jesus. She went to Him with, not only the pain of her physical problem, but she gave Him her disappointment, and she gave Him any anger she had. She had tried everything else - she would take her broken body and crushed spirit to Jesus. And in case we ever find ourselves so beset by the painful emotions of bitterness, resentment and, yes, anger, that we forget what happened, I want to remind you again, "The woman touched His coat. At that moment her bleeding stopped" (Luke 8:44).
Don't ever, ever forget. If you reach out and touch the hem of Jesus' garment, if you grab the hand He extends to you - you will be changed. Your disappointment will melt. Your anger will dissolve. This is what happens when Jesus touches us.
"Oh, God of my pain
touch me now.
May your strong arm
lift me from the pit
of bitterness; from the
valley of resentment;
and from the clutches
Cover me with Your wings of
love. Shelter me in the
shadow of your forgiveness."
"Holy Presence within me, I am willing to release all feelings of hurt and anger and resentment. Help me know true forgiveness and see each person as part of You. Let my words and actions serve only to glorify You. May they heal and comfort and harmonize my life and the lives of those around me. Thank You, God."
"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around."
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $8.00. Or by calling Transformation Garden at 1-888-397-4348.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.