James 1:19-21 – My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent, and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. (NIV)
My husband and I had been going down into the core of the city, fighting the traffic, looking for parking places and paying too much to park. We decided we would drive to where we could get the subway and avoid all of this.
While waiting for a transfer to another train, my eyes focused on a large single poster with the words, "He loves me; he loves me not", and a picture of a woman. She had bruises on her face and arms, wore rings, a necklace and bracelets, and was holding flowers in her hand. I guess by now you have the picture and understand the words "He loves me; he loves me not." It was very graphic and, oh, so true. I couldn't forget it.
Later, in the Daily PrayerLine, there was a request from such a person, crying out for help. I believe I wrote something to her, since, through our church, we have some contact with a home for battered women. Later that day I received a note in my mailbox addressed to the same woman, which had come in error to me. I read it; then realizing what had happened, I returned it. The letter I received was from someone who had been through the same thing. It was to the point: "Get out of the situation immediately. He has beaten you now; the next time he will probably kill you." The letter went on to say, "Is there not a shelter that you can go to?"
This letter and the poster haunted me for some time, and today I decided to try to put it all together and make some sense of it. I know there are a lot of women who fear for their lives and those of their children. They hold on, out of sheer hopelessness, not knowing where to go or what to do. Some don't want anyone to know, and many of them think they are to blame. They are guilt-ridden and keep hoping things will get better, or that it won't happen again.
So it goes. Anger that lives uncontrolled usually lashes out at the ones we love. There is an old saying, "You only hurt the ones you love." How true. It makes us wonder how long this has been going on in our quiet communities.
I'm sure that we haven't come to any conclusions, or solved any problems.
But we pray that we have helped in some way, by bringing this to people's attention. Something that so cripples us and our society must cause God to look down upon us in sheer disgust. Anger must be controlled to bring about the righteous life that God desires for us. The only hope is in the words at the conclusion of today's scripture, which say, "Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you."
Prayer: We pray for all those who are prisoners of anger. We come to You and lay them at Your feet, Lord, for anger does not bring out the righteous life that You desire. God, help the victims of uncontrolled anger and help those who have this anger. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.