I do not enjoy shopping for clothes. It isn’t a body image issue as much as I don’t like the clothing styles available for someone my age. I just want something that covers the body anyway, not to be a fashionista. Put me in thrift store, however, and I become a shopaholic. I go through the home goods section, looking at the dishes, decorative items, crafting section, the books, and I could easily walk out with a cart full of goodies. It’s a treasure chest full of undiscovered jewels to me.
Other things in life are second hand, but anything but a jewel. Negative attitudes and even anger can be brought into a room by one person and soon after everyone seems to have a bad attitude. Like a drop of poison in a well can turn all the water deadly, the grumbling person can spread their disappointment and dissatisfaction in moments.
Years ago, I spent a lot of time with a woman whose heart and soul had been severely damaged by abuses heaped on by spouse and parent. It broke my heart to see the physical and emotional scars she carried. I prayed for her, spoke with life affirming words during our interactions and still she clung to the bitterness that had taken root in her soul.
No matter the person, the approach, the time spent, she remained bitter and broken. During the same time she did her best to spread her negativity. We all became her targets; my children, my husband, and me. She worked at bring discord to our family by trying to turn siblings against each other, against parents, spouses against each other. Thankfully through insight and discernment we were able to recognize her intent and were able to deflect it.
The anger we can feel about a situation is also second hand or secondary. We may feel sad, hurt, or disappointed by an event or action, but we tend to show our anger about how we feel instead. Somehow anger seems more acceptable. It should not be, if we are to be emotionally healthy.
Scripture reminds us in Ephesians 4 how we are called to live now that we are believers. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you (Ephesians 4:26, 27, 29, 31, 32).
While righteous anger may have a place, self-indignant anger does not. If we have had our feelings hurt we need to reflect why we feel hurt. Are we upset someone called us out on an issue we didn’t want others to know about? Are we upset we’ve been called out for a sin we’ve been nursing instead of extracting?
If we are to live as Paul exhorted us to do in Ephesians 4, then we should be leaving kindness and compassion behind as we go forward in our faith journey. Leaving behind footprints of peace (Ephesians 6:15) we will have a better impact in the name of Christ than we ever will with anger.
And in every footprint that we leave, let there be a drop of grace…**