In my very distant past, I carried a gun and a badge. The streets were mean then but meaner now. I have had men try to kill me. These were life and death struggles. To survive, I needed to respond with superior tactics to each threat. Those responses allowed me to go home to my wife and family each day thankful to be alive.
These kinds of life and death situations were not limited to my time as a cop. A few times as a missionary on foreign soil, I had the same experiences. I learned something from each of those encounters. Anger was not my best survival response. Anger freezes a person and makes them a stationary target. Had I stopped and responded in anger, not in the superior tactics of my training both as a cop and as a missionary, I would not be writing these words to you today.
Unresolved anger at the inequities of life, politics or the insensitivity of religious institutions can kill you emotionally and spiritually if you let the emotion of anger direct your response. Adversaries know that if they can get you to respond in anger, the unrighteous kind, you will provide a predictable response and become a stationary target. In that response, you become vulnerable to a premeditated ambush of your heart and your credibility before the culture.
On the mean streets of our nation, I learned that superior training, tactics, and equipment gave me the survival edge in each of my encounters. My survival was dependent on me drawing from the well of training provided in the police academy, the street smarts of my training officer and the grit of experiencing real life on the street. The same can be said for spiritual training that is provided by mature people who help us rise to a place of maturity beyond the base response of our human emotion.
If you have become angry and anger is your first and only response to a challenge of your ideologies, you make yourself vulnerable to the ambush and schemes of our spiritual adversary – the devil and his demonic allies. Many times these dark spirits lurk behind the mask of another angry person inciting the unresolved issues in your life that is producing your anger. It is like a cop giving the bad guy his gun and getting shot with his own weapon. It makes no sense.
An angry response can never settle these arguments because in the most complicated issues of life there are no real answers apart from love. When the next anger-producing situation comes deploy your greatest spiritual weapon in response – love. Only love has the power to repel the attack of darkness. And only love has the power to keep you alive on the mean streets of spiritual conflict.