The Power of an Apology

Don’t make me angry. You won’t like me when I’m angry.

This is the oft delivered quote that David Banner would warn his attackers with lest that familiar foe and mean green Hulk destroy everything in his path. David’s anger would trigger another side of him. And the Hulk was the personification of anger—uncontrolled.

There’s nothing wrong with anger. Nothing. Indeed Scripture says we get to “be angry and sin not.” Translation there’s a righteous expression of anger that is God given. God Himself gets righteously angry at sin and injustice. Indeed He’s given us anger to help us navigate our world and motivate us to do the right things. King led a movement in the 60s because of righteous anger. Rosa sat on that bus in Montgomery because of righteous anger. Helen Keller forced a nation to recognize citizens with her plight because of righteous anger. The founders inaugurated a nation because of justified anger. Anger is good.

But it’s when anger gets bad. That’s the thing no? That’s the reason for my post.

We’re on vacay and it’s great. I love watching our children grow. And I love just being with them uninterrupted by the weight (that gets more weighty each year) of work and the stress of ministry. It is really really stressful. So times like these are precious and priceless.

But these kids are crazy (I think they take after someone). They’re loud. Obnoxious at times. And since their brains are maybe 1/3 fully formed they just don’t get it sometimes. Which means April and I are repeating ourselves dozens of times a day.


We took ‘em out to the Salinas Rodeo last night. Fun times. Cowboy boots. Cowboy hats. And eyes peeled to the action of a wondrous display of talent and heritage. It was great. By the way I ain’t never gettin on no bull.

But later that night at a drive through at McDonald’s my patience had worn thin. Repeating ourselves. Taking away screen time. Threats of “no treats for 7 days” had no more impact. They were loud. And whilst making a drive thru order some 16 yr old kept interrupting me after every order saying, “Is that it?” “Is that it?” “Is that it?” The whole time I’m thinking, “Dude I’ve got a minivan full of hungry Jenkins’ babies. This ain’t gonna be done for a while! And all while the kids are chuckling and screaming and not listening I’d had it. In the middle of my order, I just sped out of that drive thru like a minivan chocked full of nitrous oxide.

There was nothing but quiet for a couple of minutes because the whole fam knew: this guy is ticked. And boy it hit me. Dude: You went WAY too far and you let your anger take control. And you lost a moment there that could’ve been used to display something more Christlike as opposed to Hulklike.

But God works all things together for good. The gospel ain’t done when we sin. The gospel ain’t done when we mess up. The gospel is only just getting started. Even in guys who’ve been saved for 30 years and preaching for 25.

The gospel is never done! Hallelujah.

Dr. Rearden (an old school soul winner) once explained in the way of parenting that there’s no greater example to the power of the gospel we can make for our kids than that of an apology. Kids don’t just learn from our wins. They learn from our losses as well. The old man’s words were ringing in my ears. You see I’d not done in that moment what I insisted my kids do — be patient. Be respectful. Be nice.

A few more seconds of deafening silence went by before I said, “Y’all. I was angry. And I overreacted just then. Will y’all please forgive me?” And the whole family said, and that simultaneously and graciously, “Yeah Dad.”

And I was back. And they were back. And it made for a great night…except for the Nacho Bell Grandes we gorged on insofar we’d forsook McDonald’s. My stomach paid for that. But the rest was all good.

Even in my sin—God made for a moment of redemption. And the power of the gospel that insists faith in Jesus means we are made whole and brand new.

You may be in a McDonald’s Drive-Thru moment in your life right now. I encourage you to do what I failed to in that moment…don’t press the gas. Press the brakes. Yell timeout and holler help to the Spirit who can give you patience to hold on before you blow up. Last night notwithstanding, because of sheer grace I’ve got more wins than losses in that column. And though I’ll never be perfect in this life, I’m thrilled that one mistake can’t undermine a future He has planned for me to navigate anger well. After all, my kids are watching.

Press on. David Banner is still stronger than your Hulk.

Love,

A fellow Hulkster made alive again in Christ.

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