|Get Angry About The Right Things
By Greg Sanders
Jonah 4:6 Then the Lord God provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant. 7 But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered. 8 When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.” 9 But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” “It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.”
What makes you angry is an indicator of your priorities. Jonah had some mixed up priorities. Jonah cared more about a leafy and temporary plant than he did the eternal salvation of a whole city. Several times in Jonah’s life God asks him, “Is it right for you to be angry?” What if the thing you think is monumental is the thing that God considers to be very trivial? Here are three ways to examine if what is angering you really matters at all.
- Will this matter beyond today? This plant was going to die anyway. Jonah was going to move on anyway. Sometimes the only way God can get us to move on is to start eating away at our comfort. My wife is an expert at asking this question: In light of eternity, does it matter? In light of eternity, the scratch on my car really does not matter. In light of eternity, what people think of me does not matter. Though the issue may not matter, my response to such things does matter beyond today. How many things have you spent weeks, months, and sometimes years being angry about that really didn’t matter?
- Does it matter to anyone else? If what is angering us does not matter to anyone else, then that should be a warning that we have retreated into a shell of selfishness that cannot embrace the will of God for our lives. A few months ago, I had an issue in my life that was a really big deal to me personally. However, I also know that just because something is a big deal to me does not mean it is really a big deal. Therefore, I called a few trusted friends and explained the situation to see if the perceived injury was really worth being angry over.
- Does it matter to God? The leafy plant obviously did not matter to God because God sent a worm to eat it. I am certain that God cared about Jonah’s comfort, but He cared about his compassion even more. Matthew 6:33 states, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” It is in the application of this scripture that you discover what really matters to God.
Today’s Challenge: Don’t waste your life being angry over things that just don’t matter. You cannot move into the promises and the purposes of today if you are still stuck in the injuries of yesterday. Pray and ask God to give you the courage to let go of those lesser things so that you can embrace the great things that He has for you today.