Friday, February 15, 2008


I grew up with a bully brother
so I learned to gulp anger down like tart medicine
to keep the peace lingering and my parents smiling
big bro grew up and collected his anger
like steel tools he can hold in his hands
he now uses them to fix things
and bring justice overseas
bully turned hero, victim turned fan
I have my own smile of pride for genius redirected
But I was a late bloomer with a bad habit
a swallowing gulp
and a stomach ache
then as a teacher I got a taste
of the good anger my brother already found
as I loved my students so much it hurt
crashing into bullies by their lockers or in their offices
who couldn't see the innocent faces in the middle
of the statistics and detention slips
or a caste system that seemed unbreakable
now You've turned the page
a new job that provides a big huddle
of younger and older brothers who look out for me
but old habits resurface when you're uprooted
even if it is from a pot to the earth
there's a new bully in town
flashbacks to a gulping little sister hiding in her room
clutching a care bear and talking to You
but maybe it's just me
are You teaching me patience
or riling me up for action?
I need You to mark the spot between
selfish anger and Your call for restoration
between depravity and justice
because the gulping is giving me
another stomach ache
and all I want to do is
help my new bros do what they do best
and keep pointing people to You

"What else is anger than the impulsive response to the experience of being deprived. When my sense of self depends on what others say of me, anger is a quite natural reaction to a critical world. And when my sense of self depends on what I can acquire, greed flares up when my desires are frustrated. Thus greed and anger are brother and sister of a false self fabricated by the social compulsions of an unredeemed world."
Henri Nouwen, The Way of the Heart

"Cain's anger defined him. What you do with your anger defines you, but what does it look like when you express Godly anger? Get angry. Let God rile you up a bit. Just let it be for the right things, and God will use it for restoration." Jason Miller, "Do Not Murder" Sermon 2/14/08

"Then Jesus asked them, "Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?" But they remained silent. He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored." Mark 3: 4-5


Sherry Ingle said...

I never considered myself an "angry person"...until I heard the message Thursday night. Was God trying to tell me something?Hhmmmmmmm......

Sarah Koutz said...

It is okay to be angry about bullies. We start every Wednesday morning in the inner-city teaching about it. So many people don't realize they are being bullied. They just think someone is mean or not very nice. I don't allow bullies in my class...or on my team.

gregsmith said...

Whoa. Reminds me of a Maxwell quote: hurting people hurt others.