Sunday, September 12, 2010

Bitter? Better? (Batter? Butter?)

A couple of weeks ago I saw a guy who I rarely see these days and he asked me how things were going and whether I felt less bitter about the redundancy thing earlier this year.

It was weird for me because I felt I hadn't been particularly bitter, in fact, the opposite. I had restrained myself and refrained from saying anything too angry and harsh in the heat of the month-long moment.

But apparently the blog posts I had written seemed bitter.

My reply was that I generally don't feel bitter. But, also, it's hard when you meet people who are still really struggling. It's hard not to get angry over the way other people were treated.

It's a bit like if someone is rude to you, it's fairly easy to shrug it off with a 'that guy's such a jerk' eye-rolling comment. But if someone is rude to your spouse, well, that is a different story.

I've always felt, as someone who tends to get angry quickly, that the test of whether your anger is justifiable is whether it is about yourself or others. I feel there is more righteousness in anger on behalf of other people.

I think as well what I have learned is that the true test of grace is whether you extend it to people who don't extend much grace to you. I am not by nature a gracious person. I can hand on heart say that if I was ever asked to boast about being gracious, all I could really say is that God helps me to be a better person than I would be left to my own devices.

And it is hard to extend grace to people who have acted gracelessly. It is hard to refrain from criticism when their are valid points you could make. And it is hard not to rip the heads off people who hurt the people you care about and don't seem to understand why anyone would be upset at the way they are acting.

That's the crunch time for grace.

Martin Luther King talked about needing the strength to love. Sometimes it takes all your strength just not to hate.

Am I over being bitter? Yeah. It was never really about me or my circumstances.

Am I done being angry? That one's harder.

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