Kolleen Lucariello's desire is to help people embrace their identity in Christ in practical ways. In this Attitude UPGRADE, she deals with anger and how our relationship with the Lord can change our responses.
"Don’t Get Mad, Get Even. This thought randomly ran through my mind,” Kolleen says, “as Pat and I traveled south down the Interstate in early January.
I (Dawn) was just cut off on a San Diego highway as a man quickly moved from one lane— across mine—to rush toward an off-ramp, putting several cars in danger. I panicked, and oh yes, I got that sudden angry response. Kolleen has a insight for us about how to deal with life's tough circumstances with a more scriptural response.
Kolleen continues . . .
Our GPS was programmed to guide us straight to the driveway of our son and daughter-in-law’s home, and I had just witnessed one more incidence of road rage on the highway (and my husband was not involved!).
We’ve observed some pretty scary moments during our travel time when angry drivers decide they wouldn’t get mad—they’d get even— behind the wheel of a vehicle.
I was surprised a few days later when this same thought crossed MY mind as I felt my mad inside begin to rise. Don’t get mad, get even.
It’s been quite a few years since that’s been my motto for getting through life. Yet, over the next few days, the slightest irritation brought this phrase to mind.
I began to notice how effortlessly it is for some to quickly move into the get even lane.
But why had I?
Where was this sudden urge to get even for every offense coming from?
- Did I have suppressed anger?
- Was the constant chatter on social media making me hostile?
- Hormones, maybe?
I decided it was time to pray and ask God to fill me in. That’s when one word was added to the statement.
Now, the sentence running through my mind was, don’t get mad, get even… though. With an emphasis on even though.
Just a few days later I read this, “The Lord was with Joseph, and he [even though a slave] became a successful and prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian” (Genesis 39:2, AMP).
There it was, even though, and along with it, came my answer.
You upgrade your reaction when you:
1. Trust God is with you, even though you’re distressed, full of anguish and your cry seems unheard.
His very own brothers had sold Joseph into slavery. Can you imagine? They saw the distress and anguish as Joseph pleaded for them to let him go but, the Amplified Bible says, they “would not listen to his cry” and he found himself a slave in another country (Genesis 42:21).
All betrayal is rough, but betrayal by a spouse, sibling, parent or the closest of friends strikes a devastating blow.
Betrayal inflicts such intense anguish and distress, you may wonder how you will ever survive. We can become slaves to the pain as we find ourselves wandering in a strange, unknown and unwanted land, where cries for mercy go unheard.
But just as God was with Joseph, even though he found himself in Egypt, He is with us in our even though land too.
2. Trust God is able to prosper you and bring you success, even though your circumstances are not what you dreamed.
Remember Joseph’s dreams? Sheaves bowed down to him. Evidently, he was able to move on from the delay of the dream. He excelled in everything that he did even though he was a slave; and because the Lord was always with him, he found success and prosperity.
I’m certain Joseph never imagined he’d find himself a slave in Egypt. He’s the perfect example for us of someone living out Colossians 3: 23-24:
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (NIV).
The Lord is with those who protect their attitude even though the work might not be exactly what we dreamed.
3. Trust God’s purposes even though we may not understand them at the time.
Something I find remarkable in the story of Joseph is this: not once is there any mention of Joseph plotting in his heart how to get even with anyone who betrayed him—not his brothers, Potiphar’s wife, nor the chief cupbearer who failed to follow through on his promise to remember Joseph when he was released from prison. Not even Potiphar for assuming the worst and never seeking to hear his side of the story. Not once.
Instead, he saw God in the even though when he stood face to face with his brothers and recognized that even though they intended evil towards him, God’s intended purpose was for good.
Rather than living by the don’t get mad, get even motto, add the word though as a reminder of how God can bless us in our even though moments.
Are you going through something right now that tempts you to get even? How can the truth of “even though” help you upgrade your reaction?
Kolleen Lucariello, #TheABCGirl, is the author of the devotional book, The ABC’s of Who God Says I Am. Kolleen and her high school sweetheart, Pat, reside in Central New York. She’s a mother of three married children and Mimi to four incredible grandkids. She desires to help others find their identity in Christ, one letter at a time. Connect with Kolleen here.
Graphic adapted, courtesy of Megapixelstock, Stocksnap.io.