Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Scratch

It was not a good weekend for me, anger-wise. On Friday, I got home after working out to find a notice on my door from the office of my apartment complex. It said I was delinquent in my rent and if not paid that day, I would be locked out of my apartment! The alleged amount due? Three dollars! That's right, $3.00! Immediately, I marched over to the office but it had closed for the evening. You can bet I was there almost as soon as it opened on Saturday. I explained the reason for my visit to the nice gentleman on call. He looked up my account and saw I was paid in full and had been but that some glitch had registered my rent at $3 more than the actual lease. He was very apologetic and I was very appreciative. I knew it wasn't his doing but I told him I had paid 213 consecutive rent checks on time, totaling by my estimate north of $95,000, and was threatened with a lock out over three dollars. Also, I expressed my frustration that there was no warning that they thought, mistakenly, I was late; no phone call, no e-mail, no note, nothing. Again, he apologized and said they don't go through and check the details of each situation. I held my tongue and didn't say that's a lousy way to do business. He doesn't make the policy and like I said, he was very gracious. And don't get me wrong- I love living here! They have been wonderful to me over my eighteen years, longer than any other place I've lived in my life, and I would not want to live anywhere else in Houston. It just irritated me and I'm not easily irritated. But, I got over it pretty quickly and the rest of my Saturday was terrific.

But that old demon anger returned a day later. About 4:00 PM on Sunday, I was heading to my fitness club to swim before our 5 o'clock evening service. The remote control exit gate I normally leave by is being repaired so I had to use the front exit gate, one of those that senses when a car is near and opens. I was preparing to make a right angle turn when a little boy darted in on a bike and I stopped. He seemed kind of sheepish and I waved him through. But as I took off into the street, I heard a sickening sound and I knew what it was. I pulled into a parking area across the road and got out to view the damage I was certain had occurred. As I saw what the iron gate had done to my Honda Fit, I yelled at myself in a fit of rage. Oh, I muffled it so the surrounding neighborhood wouldn't hear but I was absolutely furious and it escaped me in guttural tones. You see, that car is the only expensive new thing I've ever had in my life that I owned and I wanted to keep it from major damage and I did............ for six years and ten days. 

As I drove off, I changed my tone somewhat and kept thanking the Lord that I didn't hit that kid. And as I thought, I thanked Him that the car was paid off and runs good and that I went six plus years without any real visible mishaps. The more I thought about the car AND the rent notice, the more the truthfulness of James 1:19-20 became evident to me:
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteous life that God desires.
The righteous life that God desires goes on hiatus when I get mad. Look what I became angry over in less than forty-eight hours; an honest mistake and a piece of metal. I try to like myself but I didn't for stretches this past weekend. If I don't like me, I'm fairly certain you wouldn't either under those circumstances. When I leave here in the morning, the scratch will still be there but the anger will have dissipated. God still loves me in spite of my dents and scratches; I guess I can love me, too.

Applicable quote of the day:
How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it. 
Marcus Aurelius

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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1 comment:

Cindy Ellison said...

Steve, an important post. Sorry to hear about the $3 rent problem. I am like you, I would have had the same feelings about it, treating everyone like a number you might say, instead of a human with feelings.

You are so right about the car damage, I am also like you in trying to take care of what I own. I always park far out in parking lots in an attempt to avoid damage from others opening doors and hitting my car.

Your James quote was perfect, I am currently doing a Beth Moore study on James. I was glad to read your verses that you posted.

Thank you for your thoughts. Have a blessed weekend.