Two weeks ago I had an angry reaction to my husband over something he did. What he did was wrong — but my reaction was just as wrong. I wrote those words easily and clearly just now. During my rant, though, I couldn’t see my sin because his was the foremost on my mind.
Outbursts of anger are not typical for me. I’m not saying this is the first time it’s happened. (Just ask Benny and my kids!) But my anger is typically kept “inside” and comes out in more subtle but, nevertheless, sinful ways like pouting, irritability, self-pity or withdrawing.
That day, though, my anger was on full display. My voice was raised and I was harsh and disrespectful. You get the picture. Benny got what my aunts used to call a real “tongue lashing.”
Benny would be the first to agree he sinned first. And while I was “lashing” him, I foolishly pushed through the conviction in my heart. I even told him I knew I had a wrong and sinful attitude of which I would later repent, but then went on to vent my frustrations. Later, though, the Holy Spirit started to massage my hard heart. With His help, I started asking myself:
Why did I feel the freedom to react in such a blatantly wrong way?
Had something been percolating undetected in my heart prior to this incident that allowed me to boil over?
Why did I feel my husband’s sin against me warranted me sinning back…on steroids?
What gave me the freedom to share some accurate concerns in such a condescending and biting way?
These kinds of heart-probing questions are helping me go beyond the surface issue of how my husband wronged me and my reaction to him. They’re forcing me to discover stuff that was fueling my reaction to Benny, including some things that are beyond my control.
This reminds me of my then 5-year-old daughter’s admiration of the dandelions in our back yard up north. The bright yellow flowers captured her attention and she loved picking flower after flower to bring into the house to me. When Daddy came home from Home Depot with pesticide to kill them, little Jaime was devastated. We had to explain that dandelions weren’t really flowers, but weeds. If we didn’t kill them they would spread and ruin all the grass in our yard. If the chemicals didn’t work, Daddy was going to have to actually dig up the “flowers” at the root.
This is what God has been doing in my heart. I want the roots to be killed.