He wouldn't let me tell him I couldn't talk right then. He couldn't have cared less about my schedule.
I wouldn't shake his hand, tell him my name, or look at his license to solicit. I couldn't have cared less what he was selling.
And for five increasingly uncomfortable minutes we kept cutting one another off, each determined to get our point across without letting the other gain any ground.
And my wide-eyed children stood with me and witnessed the entire exchange.
And my brand new small group members parked in front of my house and walked past us through the front door.
And I got angry.
I just hate door-to-door sales people.
They make me feel defensive in my own home, like I owe them an explanation for why I do not choose to spend my money on them. The only reason they want to hear my reasons for saying no is so they can come up with a counterargument. Every time one knocks, they receive the benefit of a bigger residue of anger left from the ones who came before.
I found out the next day that he had badgered every one of my neighbors that evening, successfully selling his product to some of them just because they couldn't say no. And now I'm boiling!
Obviously, I took this event way too personally, and have spent the last 48 hours having an imaginary conversation with the perpetrator, practicing my self-righteous indignation.
This kind of prolonged response usually indicates I need to examine something in my spirit. So I wonder, what would Jesus do?
I bet Jesus would have had time for the salesman. Of course, he probably would have started telling him about God's kingdom, and ended up with the man becoming a Christ-follower. Perhaps he would have invited the man to join our group discussion time.
Should I be ashamed to admit that simply didn't fit into my plan for that evening?
Instead, my front entry now sports this mixed message, along with a few mixed feelings:
Perhaps my learning point, however, has nothing to do with this man but everything to do with my heart.
No matter what I could or should have done differently in the moment, one thing is sure. Continuing to harbor anger over something in the past will definitely not produce anything constructive in my own life.
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” James 1:19-20
God desires me to grow in righteousness, and he gives me a guide for how not to fail at that: be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. I'm memorizing this verse to help me next time I feel the anger start to boil.
What makes you angry? What suggestions do you have for other readers as they deal with anger?