I rolled my eyes after finishing Chapman’s book on anger. He equated ones’ ability to control their anger with their level of spiritual maturity. He also said, “Our anger is at the very heart of who we are. Tell me what you are angry about, and I will tell you what is important to you” (196).

Ten minutes after said eye roll, my dog pooped in my office. The extreme cold has made it challenging for Dexter to “go.” I’d spent an inordinate amount of time taking him outside, so when he soiled my carpet, I experienced what Corrie Ten Boom called, murderous rage.

Although I knew it wasn’t Dexter’s fault and not that big a deal, I couldn’t seem to un-anger myself. I lay in bed later, rehashing what Chapman said:

“Tell me what you are angry about, and I will tell you what is important to you.”

What was I angry about? For starters, I’d let Dexter out 89 times before his indoor “deposit.” Secondly, my schedule is ramping up so I’m busy. I was mad because I’d wasted time putting on six jackets, a hat, mittens, and boots every trip outside, just to have him poop inside. And I was mad because Chapman paralleling anger to spiritual maturity felt condemning. My inability to control my anger is frustrating and embarrassing (who gets enraged at a puppy?).

But condemnation makes me believe the lie that God’s upset that I’m STILL not nicer and less violent. Condemnation makes me forget Jesus died because I’ll never be nice or less violent enough. Condemnation focuses on my failures.

The cross focuses on Jesus.

God wants me to be less angry, but not because He’s mad that I wanted to kick Dexter. Everything He wants for us is for our good and His glory. There’s freedom when I’m not constantly worried that I’m wasting time. There’s peace trusting God’s in control. When we believe deeply God loves us despite our failures, it softens our souls and it reorients, powerfully and beautifully, what’s really most important.