How To Stop Being An Angry South African

I’m grumpy. Today, I just feel grumpy. Why, Jess? I’m so interested in your life that I really need to know why you are grumpy.

Fine, Internet, fine. Here is why I’m grumpy.

1) I’m grumpy because of the State of The Nation chaos of last night. Policemen arresting peaceful protesters, the opposition parties being evicted out of Parliament/walking out in protest of evictions, the indifference of a President who laughed and presented his “long term plan to have a long term plan” to his own party. I honestly wanted to throw a smushy papaya in his face. With the seeds still in it. I freaking love South Africa. Tom and I have always said we will leave when they chase us out. But today, I’m just feeling pissed off because I feel like a naysayer and I know I’m not one and for the first time I am just so bleak.

2) I’m grumpy because I had about three hours of sleep last night. Here’s a helpful hint: if you give your 18 month old papaya at supper he will poo at 2am and then think it’s the morning and not want to go to sleep. No more papaya for you, Luke. NO. MORE. PAPAYA.

3) I’m grumpy because everything sucks. There are too many poor people, and too many racists, and too many crooks, and too many patriarchal chauvinists. And I’m really cross about these things. So there. I hate you all.

4) And I’m grumpy because I can’t find the new Taylor Swift music video on the interweb. WHY ME??????

Oh by the way, I’m preaching at church on Sunday. Anybody wanna come?

What am I preaching about, you ask? Wow, guys. Your curiosity is insatiable.

I’m preaching about Anger.
Wait…what? Yes. Read it again. I’m preaching about Anger.

I’m preaching about how Anger is an enemy of the heart. I’m preaching about how you can keep monitoring what you do but eventually your heart will outpace your behaviour and catch up with you. What’s inside will come out. And you’ll use words like “pissed off” and “hate” and “papaya” in a blog.

Grumpy Jess

Grumpy Jess

  • Show me an angry person and I’ll show you a hurt person.
  • Show me an angry person and I’ll show you someone who feels like something has been taken from them.
  • Show me an angry person and I’ll show you someone who feels like, “You owe me”.
  • Show me an angry person and I’ll show you me –>

So what are we supposed to do? What are we supposed to do when we angry because we’re hurting over this beautiful, betrayed country? What are we supposed to do when justice and democracy and courageous leadership and human rights are taken away? What are we supposed to do when we know that every single South African deserves better than this?

There’s only one antidote for anger.

Forgiveness.

We tend to think that forgiveness is letting the bad guy off the hook, letting the crook go free. Its actually about ourselves going free. When we forgive, we are free. When we don’t forgive, we stay prisoners – prisoners to anger, to hurt, to the destructive outcomes of keeping anger in our hearts.

When we don’t forgive, we are the ones who pay.
When we don’t cancel the debt of those who have hurt us, we are the ones who end up in prison. 
On the other hand, when we cancel the debt that others owe us – when we forgive – we will be set free.

It’s a real thing, you guys. This is for realsies how it works.

I don’t know what you’re angry about. For the few devoted friends of mine who read this blog outside South Africa, you may not know what scary stuff we’re facing but I’m sure you can insert your own “this-makes-me-mad” thing in.

There is a lot I don’t know. But I DO know that I don’t want to live with a poisonously, destructively angry heart that makes me a pain to be around. I am NOT going to let our screwed-up-with-no-scruples-and-needs-a-papaya-in-your-face-flushing-democracy-and-justice-down-the-drains-of-Parliament-government take my freedom.

They may take our water, and our electricity, and our justice, and our democracy.
But they will NOT take my joy. They will NOT take my sense of humour. And in the words of the great Scotsman William Wallace, they will NOT take my freedom.

And if you want to be free…

Forgive.

If you want to hear my sermon on Anger and Forgiveness, you can:
– visit Grace Family Church Ballito Campus on Sunday 15 February at 8am or 10am
– watch or download the message next week on this website

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