Suddenly an angry passenger pushed his way to the desk. He slapped his ticket down on the counter and demanded, “I HAVE to be on this flight and it has to be FIRST CLASS.”
The agent replied, “I’m sorry sir. I’ll be happy to help you, but I’ve got to help these folks first. But I’m sure we’ll work something out.”
Unimpressed, the man shouted, so everyone could hear, “Do you have any idea who I am?”
Without hesitating, the gate agent smiled and grabbed her public address microphone.
“May I have your attention please?” her voice bellowing throughout the terminal. “We have a passenger here WHO DOES NOT KNOW WHO HE IS. If anyone can help him find his identity, please come to gate 17.”
As we look around our country today, it is filled with angry people. Revenge seekers who shoot innocent bystanders. Kids who kill for fun. Thugs. Child abusers. And upset citizens who riot and rebel.
Not coincidently we are a society that has lost its way. Its heart. Its soul. We’ve strayed from our moorings. Forgotten who we are. Why we are here. And where we came from.
Maybe that’s why this devotional piece from Rick Warren’s Daily Hope resonated so strongly with me. Rather than curse the darkness. He lights a candle. Offers hope. And shares some solutions.
Warren writes, “If you’re going to get control of anger in your life, you must base your identity on Jesus, understanding that he loves you unconditionally, that you are his, that you are valuable, and that he has a purpose and plan for your life.”
“If you build your identity on anything else, you’ll struggle with insecurity your whole life. You can build your identity on your job, but you can lose your job. You can build your identity on how good-looking you are, but you may lose your good looks. You can build your identity on being popular, but you’re not always going to be popular.”
“If you build your identity on anything that can be taken away from you, you’re going to be insecure, and insecurity is at the root of your anger. Until you start feeling secure about yourself, people are going to be able to push your buttons. When you know who you are and whose you are, people can’t push your buttons. They can’t get to you. Anger and insecurity go together. The more insecure you feel, the angrier you feel.”
Warren then connects the issue of anger and identity with the heart. “When you get angry, your mouth just reveals what’s inside your heart. A harsh tongue reveals an angry heart. A negative tongue reveals a fearful heart. A boasting tongue reveals an insecure heart. A critical tongue reveals a bitter heart. A filthy tongue reveals an impure heart.”
“On the other hand, an encouraging tongue reveals a happy heart, a gentle tongue reveals a loving heart, and a controlled tongue reveals a peaceful heart.”
“You know what you need to get rid of your anger problem? You need a heart transplant. Fortunately, God specializes in them. It’s called salvation! God gives you a brand new heart and a brand new identity. You don’t have to find your identity in your job or your bank account or your good looks or your relationships, because you find your identity in what God says about you.”
“Jesus can heal the three things that cause anger: hurt, frustration, and fear. Jesus can heal your hurting heart with his love. Jesus can replace your frustrated heart with his peace. Jesus can replace your insecure heart with his power.”
I would add to Warren’s article what the Bible says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature, old things have passed away; behold all things have become new” (2 Cor 5:17)
In Christ, you have a new name. A new relationship. A new outlook. A new identity. A new hope. And a new heart.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman