“I am so mad, I’m seeing red!” Ever heard that? Ever said that? I have. As a young mother rearing two daughters, I “saw red” more than I should have. Red is sometimes thought to be a color of anger, hence the term “seeing red.” When I feel that way, I give off signals. I look tense. My voice changes its tone, and I appear irritable. When I declare this statement, I’m revealing a mood that is not flattering to me or fair to my children.
At one time, a flare up could occur without warning. It may have arisen from tracks on a freshly cleaned carpet. Or possibly, it was triggered by the orange drink dripping down through the refrigerator.
It was during a particular case of “red-itis” that God reminded me to look at the daily aggravations and interruptions of life in a different light—through His eyes. I had been increasingly uncomfortable with the way I was handling daily irritations, so this became a matter of prayer focus for me. I asked God to help me learn His way of handling them.
As I reacted again to an irritation, I could actually feel my face getting warmer, my heart pounding faster. But instead of my normal reaction to the irritation, I became calmer as I imagined a new scene. Instead of seeing myself frustrated and angry, I saw Jesus on the cross. The red became His blood, lovingly shed for my sins--for all of the times I have caused Him to be disappointed with me. I pictured Him offering me forgiveness for my mistakes, and His love holding me close when He should be angry with me.
I took out my Bible and looked up references that related to this. Ephesians 1:7 (NIV) states, "In him we have redemption through his (Jesus’) blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” He reminds us that we must do the same with others. In Luke 6:37 we read, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
I was reminded that the fruit of the spirit includes patience and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). Therefore, the more I practice walking in patience and love and react to the difficulties and challenges of everyday life using these spiritual resources, the more clearly I demonstrate the love and forgiveness that Jesus’ death released to all of us. That is exactly what I started to do. This mental picture helped me to see love when daily irritations and aggravations arose. They helped me to be thankful for the blessing of having my two beautiful daughters. I concentrated on how much I loved the child who was just “being a child.” I learned to give a prayer of thanks for the interruptions. That meant that I had a child to love, and who loved me.
This makes red not a color of anger, but of love and forgiveness. Now, when I feel tempted to “see red,” I am reminded of Jesus’ love and patience. I am reminded also that as a parent it is important to show an unconditional, constant, forgiving love. What a lovely color red can be!