Tuesday’s Torch 595
July 7, 2020
Don’t get mad get glad.” Many will remember this as the old sandwich bag slogan. But for me I kind of remember it for another reason. As a child I dealt with a bit of bullying. This was back before all of the anti-bullying campaigns when those being bullied were taught to respond with the old sticks and stones response. I’m grateful for that advice and I’m not sharing for a pity party for little kid me.
So back on track. I would get so angry at the bullies. They would pick on me because I was an easy target. Typically the youngest and smallest kid in my classes, always sitting in the bottom corner of class pictures, some of y’all know what I’m talking about. On top of that due to Muscular dystrophy they had a physical advantage over me. To make up for this I had some anger like you wouldn’t believe and I could holler and yell with the best of them.
So in response to me squinting my eyes and holding up my clenched fists they’d say the words “Don’t get mad, get glad” at me. Not sure if I was the only kid to ever be taunted with that nonsense but as a young kid it was so frustrating. So my anger issues grew and grew in response to these things so for many years even when I had grown up I would roll my eyes when people would say “Nobody can make you angry. Anger is a choice. You can choose how to respond.” They’d say this in regards to being offended too and I always thought they were full of it. 🙂
But guess what? It’s true and I’m so thankful to know that. Knowing it is true and actually completely living it are two different things and I have a lot of work left to to. So if any of you are feeling like it’s an absurd thought, yeah, I’ve been there and sometimes in frustration still waver back and forth sometimes, as some people who I have been angry at can attest to. But I promise it is worth working on.
And now to the scripture that I would like to share that many of my thoughts and feelings tonight connect with is Psalm 37:7-8 and most specifically 8 but I’ll share them both here.
“Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.”
So what was once a taunt from bullies, “Don’t get mad”, is now delivered in love as a commandment, “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath.” Those are hard but worth striving for. Now, it may seem absurd to tie that scripture in with the taunting of a couple childhood bullies, but it gets better.
A couple verses later is the following, I’m sure you can guess where this is going. After describing some bad stuff that happens to bad people comes Verse 11: “But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” Hmm. Sounds sort of like gladness…. Great… So there straight from the scriptures comes “Don’t get mad, get glad.” A big difference? The source of those words actually stands ready to provide us with that gladness. If we turn to him.
The only thing me turning to those bullies resulted in were a few attempts at chasing them down to land a couple punches here and there and getting knocked down repeatedly. But our Father in Heaven and our Savior Jesus Christ don’t knock us down, but will always pick us up. If we choose to let them. Getting angry is a choice. Being offended is a choice. Getting help to be glad or delighted “in the abundance of peace” as the scriptures word it is also a choice. Let us choose to seek that help when events and actions leave us wanting to be angry or respond in wrath.
I’ll be continuing to fight this battle right along side any of you who choose to take up this fight or who are already fully immersed in it. May God bless each of you. And don’t worry, I won’t tag any who actually were those bullies back in the day because they turned out alright and one of them I ended up considering to be one of my good childhood friends, once we understood each other a bit better.
I pray each of you has a great week and can find plenty of reasons to have joy and gladness. And remember, in love this time, “Don’t get mad, get glad!” In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
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