When Ruth and I were dating, she was working at a radio station where her dad was the manager. They hosted a daily call-in radio show entitled “What are you mad about today, Eddie?” Eddie would call in and share his current complaints about the weather, traffic, corn prices, and other rural life issues (context: northwest Iowa). It had a humorous twist to it each episode, but often with a real concern to ponder. Sometimes his commentary made you smile, while other times brought out empathic angst…especially when what Eddie was mad about was what made you mad too.
If asked to answer the question today, what would be your response? “What are you mad about today?”
Perhaps you’re mad about big issues like the war in Ukraine, political upheaval in Haiti or central Africa, or racial, political or religious division in our own homeland. Maybe it’s poverty or sex trafficking. Economic discrepancies or social injustices. Everywhere you look, there seems to be yet another issue to be concerned or perhaps even mad about.
Or, it might actually be somewhat smaller issues that enrage you, like people who park carelessly and take up a second spot in a busy lot. Or, assembling something with confusing instructions or missing that one essential part. How about inflated prices on your auto or home insurance? Or, closer to home, the petty smallness exhibited on social media related to someone you thought had some etiquette at best or basic scruples at a minimum.
What do we do with what maddens us? How do we hold these issues prayerfully, lovingly, even forgivingly? Is it ok to be mad?
Last night I could barely sleep because of a relational issue that makes me mad…and sad. If I told you the details perhaps you’d have some advice to offer. I may or may not be ready to hear what you suggest. Perhaps I’d welcome the counsel if I knew you were truly listening. All I know is that this concern also makes me mad. And I believe it makes God mad too. There, I said it…
It’s ok to hate what God hates and be mad about what hurts the heart of God. It’s fine to name it. God doesn’t like war or disunity or injustice, nor does he like poverty or sex trafficking. I believe these issues make him mad. They aren’t funny and left to their rotting influence upon our culture and society, the enemy of our soul appears like the winner.
But, our faith in Jesus leads us to believe otherwise. The issues of our day (large or small) that make us legitimately mad also make Jesus mad. The question is: how do we handle our mad-ness?
Perhaps the way forward is as simple as prayer. As profound as humility. As transformational as forgiveness. Right where you live, and among those you know. Is there a broken relationship that needs to be mended? Don’t get mad or seek to get even, but instead: outdo one another with love. Is your madness actually something God is inviting you to release? Aargh…now it makes me mad that I don’t always choose a godly response!
Lord, have mercy. Take what I’m mad about, redeem the pain and suffering inflicted upon another, and be glorified in the deliverance you delight to give. Amen.