How Ugly is Ugly
Meditations By John Dean
(1 Samuel 18:10 Message Bible) The next day an ugly mood was sent by God to afflict Saul, who became quite beside himself, raving. David played his harp, as he usually did at such times. Saul had a spear in his hand. Suddenly Saul threw the spear, thinking, "I'll nail David to the wall." David ducked, and the spear missed. This happened twice.
I am not sure that any of us realize how we appear to others or what they really think of us. I am not even sure that we really want to know what others think of us because we may not be able to handle it. However, there is one thing that I am sure of and that is that we usually justify our actions.
We can usually get a glimpse of the ugliness of our own attitude by looking at the ugliness of someone else’s attitude. We may not think that our attitude is very bad, but in the eyes of others…ugly is ugly.
After going through the security line at the Washington Dulles Airport a few days ago I saw ‘ugly’ at its worst. As soon as a man, his wife and his daughter came through the security line, the man began hollering and screaming at his wife and daughter in front of everyone. I was surprised that the security people did not say something to him…but they did not.
I gathered up my belongings and left as soon as I could because I could not stand being around this man any longer. I went down the escalator and walked a ways to catch the train that would take me to another terminal. While I was standing there, all of a sudden I heard this man coming down the escalator running after his wife and daughter, still screaming at them. He seemed to be oblivious to everyone else. His daughter was so embarrassed that she went and hid behind a column. Everyone in the train tunnel was staring at him and making all kinds of remarks. The man’s wife finally calmed him down enough to get him on the train and they left.
I have seen angry people over the years, but I have never seen anyone quite like this man. After watching him for a while I began to see what an ugly attitude really looks like to others.
There are times when everyone gets a little irritated and shows off their ugly side, but there is a big difference between being irritated and having a ‘spirit of anger’. However, there does seem to be certain boundaries for the one who typically gets irritated. Those boundaries could to be a dirty look or a quiet jab in the side of the one who caused the irritation.
The man at the airport was more than irritated. He had a ‘spirit of anger’ which knows no boundaries. When a ‘spirit of anger’ is on someone they respond almost like a wild animal whose eyes are fixed on a prey…they see nothing else.
I have always tried to learn from experiences such as with the man in the airport. His attitude was so ugly that I began wondering what others think while looking at my reactions to things that irritate me. It is not a matter of us being irritated at times; it is a matter of how we respond to those irritations.
In our text Saul is a classic example of one who has a ‘spirit of anger’ (or maybe even murder) which manifested by trying to kill David. This kind of anger usually tries to cause some level of death in another. That level may not always be taking their life, but it could be attempting to kill their spirit. The apostle Paul says in Ephesians 4:26 “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.”
Perhaps all of us should check our ‘ugly attitude barometer’ on a regular basis and seek healing accordingly.
We desire to be Christ-like even though at times we are not. Lord, help us to deal with things that may be an irritation to us in a Godly way and not with a spirit of anger. Lord, help us to mature and be more sensitive to others while being a better witness for You.