Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Be like a child: be furious


Sweet, innocent and furious
 Jesus said "unless you change and become like little children" you will never enter the kingdom of heaven". When interpreting this most people think of all the lovely qualities of children, so trusting, meek and gentle.

A few days ago I was in some woods with my family and some friends of ours. My daughter (four years old) rushed up to tell me something just as the son of my friend demonstrated his ninja kicking skills on a large branch. The branch whistled past my daughter's head, mere millimetres from knocking her out.

I held Irina whilst she recovered from the initial shock, reassuring her that it was alright to cry if she wanted and that it was no-one's fault, just an accident. When I finally let go of her the expression on her face wasn't a tearful one, but one of unbridled fury - utter rage shining in her eyes. But it wasn't directed at poor Sam, despite the depth of her emotion she was holding the anger, controlling it. Just. Without speaking she pointed towards our car. She wanted me to stop fussing over her and to leave.

Children feel things. They really feel things. They haven't yet been tamed by the world. They're capable of incredible selfishness and malevolence but also astonishing joy. I think it's been decades since I enjoyed anything as much as my daughter enjoys being bounced around on my knee. A simple pleasure without filters, the joy of being.

I want to feel like that again. But you can't have the joy without the anger. We need to be whole people, healed people with healthy emotions, and that means the totality of human experience. The pleasures but also the pains.

The bible says to be angry but do not sin. Irina is often angry, sometimes shaking with rage. I've been trying to teach that it's ok to be angry, but she can't direct it at people. To master her anger, not be mastered by it. A hard lesson for an adult let alone a four year old. That's why I was so pleased to see her hold her anger, not to direct it. I want her to stay that wild, to be untamed, to experience life with intensity. But to be angry at the right things.

Anger is an energy (that reminds me of a song...), a power, a motivating force that can make things happen and bring change. It can be hate. It can be destructive, selfish and evil. But love hates too. Love hates injustice. Love hates when people suffer and hurt. And love does something about. It starts with being angry. Really, really angry.

If you've never felt the anger of God then you're missing out on a big part of his nature and character. We mustn't be afraid to acknowledge and experience the anger of God. God is love, and love is angry.

So be like a child. Be furious.

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