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Traffic Doesn’t Make Everyone Angry

Have you ever been agitated in traffic and looked around at other drivers only to see them singing?  How about in a classroom when someone is repeatedly clicking their pen and you could go through the roof but no one else seems to mind?  Maybe you can’t stand a particular person at work or your child’s school but everyone seems to get along with that person fine or enjoy their company.  There may have been a time in church when you were shooting daggers at the worship guy or pastor but everyone else seemed focused on God or content listening to the preaching of the Word.  Is there a particular race that causes you to feel superior, but when you look around, everyone else seems unaffected?

There is something great about conviction.  I’ve been reading Paul Tripp’s book Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands, and something he points out is sticking with me in all of my minor and major irritations.  He says, “Though there are situations and relationships that we all dread, there is enough variety in the how, when and where of our anger to suggest that something else is going on.  That something is the heart.  We do not respond to people and situations in the same way because we do not bring the same heart to them.  This is why any attempt to examine the causes of conflict must begin with the heart.”

No one can make me angry.  Not my children.  Not my husband. 
Traffic cannot make me irritated.  Not a pen.  Not a mother at school.  Not a boss.
Church cannot make me unhappy.  Not a pastor.  Not the music. 
A race cannot make me angry.  Not situationally.  Not generationally.

Everything is about the heart.  When I am mad at someone, I have to look at my heart. When I am impatient, I have to look at the heart.  When irritated, the heart.  And, simply changing my behavior will only clean it up until the next shoe drops.  Behavior modification will never work.  The only cure for an impure heart is Christ and what Luther said was the consistent pattern of the Christian life:  repentance and faith, repentance and faith, repentance and faith.

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