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Last updated March 03.

March 3, 2014 issue

Antidote to anger

By Sarah Kehrberg

The mentally handicapped man bagging my groceries had a job and useful work. Somebody invented potato chips, a most perfect food. The store provided, free of charge, a sturdy grocery cart, without which life would be very hard indeed.

The Holy Spirit works miracles. I no longer cared about the lost 10 minutes of my day. I saw the humor in the wrangling over a dollar’s saving. In my heart I wished the woman well and felt a burden lifted.

Perhaps I am placing too much significance on such a brief interchange. Yet, fleeting moments add up to make a day, a lifetime. Sometimes it’s the small miracles that affect us most.

I am strangely comforted to know God is no stranger to anger. At Mount Sinai he was so angry with Israel, his chosen people, that he threatened to abandon them altogether and start over.

Yet over and over he extended mercy and grace. Mercy was when he didn’t punish them as they deserved (after the golden calf). Grace was when he blessed them with good things they equally did not deserve (manna and quail).

I have learned I cannot offer genuine mercy and grace to others if I haven’t gratefully accepted it from God first. So when I feel anger rising or note its ongoing presence, I make a simple plea: Mercy and grace to me. Mercy and grace from me.

A burden is always lifted.

Sarah Kehrberg lives in Asheville, N.C.

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