Written by Beth Petersen
Have you ever lived with or been a "creative sweeper?” Creative sweepers don't have time for dustpans or vacuums. Their goal is a room that appears clean, and they are successful until the piles of dirt are discovered under the rugs and furniture. Some of us would say we don't struggle with anger because as soon as a negative emotion begins to surface, we sweep it under the rug and rush to the next task. As Pete Scazzero reminds us, the feelings we don't process will leak out of us. Anger under the rug turns to resentment and pain.
Some of us have never struggled with hiding piles of anger. Instead, we embrace the rush of emotion and run headlong into the confrontation. Anger is our comfort zone because it gives the illusion of power. After speaking our truth, we find we are talking to empty or at least silent rooms.
Whether you sweep away or embrace anger, we get to these two responses in the same way. We convince ourselves we are justified in how we have chosen to process our anger. And we are susceptible to the same outcome — anger can become all-consuming, damaging our emotional health and relationships.
But, there is good news for the sweepers, and the embracers' anger isn't wrong. Scripture assumes anger: "In your anger do not sin….” Ephesians 4:26. Scripture also assumes we can be angry and not sin. How? We don't have to process anger alone!
Whether your anger is caused by traffic, deep betrayal, or abuse, we have a God who walks through the valley of the shadow of darkness with us (Psalm 23:4). We have the example of Jesus, who faced suffering and abuse and spoke hard truth to abusers without negating their humanity. And we have the power of the Holy Spirit working in us, who, as Scott said on Sunday transforms us from the inside out. And we have a Christian community which may be a counselor, friend, mentor, or pastor. If you are a super sweeper or a super embracer, people already know, so let's be honest with our struggle and ask God for His transformational power in us. As for me, I’m still working on learning to use a dustpan.