It was the top of the seventh inning in a regular, Saturday night, Little League baseball game in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico. The “Astros,” my team, were playing our biggest rivals in the league and we were losing. And up on the pitcher’s mount, coming in on the last inning to save the game, was I–the player who could do anything. I played first and third base, I could pitch, I was the team’s main catcher, and the star hitter. I was a prodigy.
But that night everything was falling apart. We hadn’t been able to get on base and were getting crushed. And to add fuel to the fire, my pitches weren’t finding their mark across home plate. It was a wreck of a day. As each pitch went by, I got more and more angry, fury began to consume me. Wrath, the kind that makes you blind and turns you into a raging beast was spreading through my being. I was nine years old.
The coach eventually pulled back from the mount and put on another one of the guys. He wasn’t as good as me, but at least he didn’t look like a savage demon on the field. The thing is that, thirteen years since that warm Puerto Rican night when we lost that crucial game, I still remember perfectly all the emotions and the intensity that I was pouring from my body. My anger, wrath, and fury left scars in my soul–they always leave scars behind.
I am not easily prone to anger. At least, that’s what I like to believe. I like to believe that I am a loving, easy-going, relaxed kind of dude. I like to believe that my anger comes out of righteousness not out of pride. But life has shown me the opposite of this. I am easily prone to anger. And not just anger, but wrath–wrath and I know each other pretty well.
This is another one of those posts were I tell you how much I suck at being a Christian. I do. I accepted a long time ago that my anger, which comes out of internal pride, wasn’t something to continue dragging me with me for the rest of my life. So I tuned into God and His spirit, I gave up my anger for a few years…but suddenly it came back. The only difference was that this time around I was hurting even more people than before.
This isn’t a success story. This isn’t a victory speech. I still struggle with my anger a lot. I was just telling my friend Mario yesterday that it takes a lot out of me to keep myself from crushing and hurting people in debates. Pride, anger, and fury still follow me (or do I follow them?) because I still seek them and use them as sources of strength and personal glory. However, I know that all glory and strength I can get from them is only temporary, and it carries the great price of self-destruction. In Scripture God tells us that He wants to be our source of strength. He wants to be our ultimate pleasure and our source of joy. I am pursuing this in my life. I don’t know how far I am along the way. However, I know that I can claim one victory, and that is victory in Jesus Christ, who died for my sins and resurrected to give us eternal life. Even in my imperfection, God sees the righteousness of Jesus the Anointed One upon me.