When Anger Flares and Patience is Forgotten

“…But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him,” (Luke 15:20b NKJV)

I have always had a temper. Through following Jesus, I’ve learned to be more patient and to not let the anger escape when it serves no purpose. Yet, I’m human. I make mistakes I’m not proud of. A few days ago, my companion cat, Finnegan, was in need of my attention. I was busy and wanted him to be patient.

Cats do not understand patience. While Finnegan understands certain words, mostly because of my inflections, he does not understand human language. He wanted me to stop what I was doing and play with him. I ignored him.

When this happens, Finnegan turns to ways he knows to get my attention. Usually this is knocking things off the desk or other high places. This day he chose to push the magazine holder at the side of my desk to the floor. What a clatter! The books inside fell out of the holder, but luckily the plastic holder did not break. But it fell in a space where I could not easily retrieve the items. I lost my temper. I yelled at Finnegan saying things I didn’t mean. Horrible things. I even said I didn’t know why I had decided to give him a home!

And then, instead of taking time to move a storage unit on wheels so I could get into the spot, I tried to bend over to pick them up. Of course, I lost my balance and wound up hanging percariously with no way of righting myself. I had to turn to prayer. I began asking Jesus to help me as I struggled to brace against the wall to get back to my feet. Jesus answered my prayer and I wasn’t hurt. All of this because of my anger in the moment. I did move the cart and retrieved the books and magazine holder.

Finnegan was hiding behind the big plant in the kitchen watching me. I felt awful. Why had I let my anger get so out of hand over something I could have prevented by giving a little attention to my cat?

The sermon at church yesterday was on The Prodigal Son. I began thinking of how God wants all of us to repent and turn around and come home. I had sinned. But like the prodigal son, God was waiting for me. I confessed, with tears, and asked for forgiveness. I know that God had been waiting with open arms for me. He already knew what I would do when I ignored my cat. And through this experience, He taught me once again the need to learn how to be patient and how damaging a temper can be.

Do you get angry and then feel guilty?