Tag Archives: anger

Time And Growth

Time And Growth

Recently I read about an incident that occurred back in 2004.  A fight broke out among the residents of a nursing home in their dining hall.  One man was playing with the lettuce in the serving line with his bare hands.  From that a fight ensued.  A 62-year-old and an 86-year-old started to trade “punches.”  Then a 79-year-old was bitten in the arm.  The mother of the 62-year-old man was cut in the arm and a 92-year-old man was shoved to the floor as other residents ran away from the dining hall.

The point of sharing this story is that time and age does not ensure a person grows “out of” anger issues.  We cannot hope that one day the wrath of a person is appeased because he or she becomes a certain age.  The only way to grow out of any sin – is to grow more like Jesus.  What we do in and with our time, is more important than how much time has expired.

Ephesians 4 clearly teaches how to replace the sin with righteousness and goodness.  God can help you grow in these areas!

Ephesians 4:31-32 says, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

Please observe the first sin listed: Bitterness.  Wrath, anger, clamour (outcry of grief), evil speaking (vile and blaspheme), and malice (badness) are all a result of the first sin: Bitterness.

Bitterness leads to faulty vision, angry thinking, and heated words.  Time does not heal bitterness.  Jesus alone can heal bitterness.

A life submitted to God will bring the hurts, pains, resentments, and seeds of bitterness to God and let God take care of them.  When we hold onto our “rights,” our pride, and our bitter spirit, the bitterness sprouts up into a garden of deceit, pain, and turmoil that chokes out all the positive things God is doing in our lives.  Nurturing bitterness ensures a garden of sin and grief is cultivated in a person’s life.

Replace the bitterness with forgiveness.  Replace the anger and wrath with kindness. Replace the harsh words with tenderheartedness.

While some people seem to “mellow out” over time, it is not just because of the passing of days. Time alone is not enough to grow out of sin and to find healing from the control of sin.  Growing in Jesus and learning to follow his example of love, compassion, and forgiveness is the only way to see victory over the sin of bitterness and anger.  What we do with the time God gives to grow closer to Him is what really counts.

 

 

 

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The Sour Life

The Sour Life

A little sour goes a long way with me.  A little lemon is good, not a lot.  Do you like rhubarb/strawberry pie?  Grandma Harness used to make that a lot.  I also enjoy rhubarb crisp.  Each year we harvest our own rhubarb and are sure to put a lot of real sugar in the crisp  because of how sour the rhubarb is! I even like some of the “Sweet and Sour” candies made today.  Sour foods taste bitter, acidic, and tart.  My palate can handle only so much.  I like sweet much better.

When it comes to relationships, sour, is not something that you want your life to be described as.  Christians do not want their outlook to be “sour.”  Our relationships should not taste sour and our emotional/spiritual perspective should not be bitter.

“Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled…” Hebrews 12:15

One funny story goes like this: “Two writers who were bitter rivals were both attending the same party. One had recently had a book published, and the other commented to him, “I read your new book and liked it. Who wrote it for you?”

The other replied, “I’m glad you liked the book, who read it to you?””   (6,000 Plus)

Two simple observations of the devastating effects of bitterness include:

  1. Bitterness troubles the one who is bitter. This includes a guilty conscience, irrational reasoning, with confused anger and responses to others.
  2. Bitterness affects the people around the one who is bitter. A husband affects his wife.  A wife affects her husband.  Parents will impact their kids. While some believe a self-propagated lie that “my bitterness only affects me” – the truth is “many be defiled” by one person’s bitterness.

Some people are bitter about their childhood and upbringing.  Some are still angry with their parents for schooling, sports, discipline, and other areas.  Some people are bitter towards childhood acquaintances from school, church, or teams they played on.  Others develop hatred in college, towards their “first romance” or even in the first real job.  Some are in relationships with people right now and are allowing unresolved issues, anger, selfishness, pride, or misunderstandings sour their outlook on life.

A basic practice of Bible Christianity is “self-examination.”  Considering the Word of God, are you harboring any level of bitterness towards someone?  Here are several identifiable characteristics of bitterness that can help you in your self-assessment:

  • Obsessive thoughts of revenge
  • Sarcasm
  • Critical or unkind comments
  • Self-righteousness
  • Conflicts with others
  • Aggressiveness in relationships
  • Controlling behavior

Bitterness will wreak havoc on a person and their family.  Being bitter will bloom into many other areas of sin; neglect, hostility, and wrong thinking.  The fruit produced by bitterness will be a life of regret, an outlook of despair, and a heart of hatred.

If any of the characteristics of bitterness are found in you, do everything you can, with God’s help, to get it pulled out of your life.  What should a bitter person do?

  • Confess the bitterness as sin.
  • Identify the source: jealousy, anger, rage, fear, pride.
  • Ask other people to pray for you. This demonstration of humility makes it clear that you mean business.
  • Ask for another Christian to hold you accountable when you exhibit any of the characteristics of bitterness.
  • Ask forgiveness of those you have impacted directly with bitterness.
  • Ask forgiveness of those who were indirectly impacted because of your bitterness.
  • Restore your relationship with God. The vertical relationship with Jesus is directly impacted by your horizontal relationship with other human beings. Getting relationships right with others is one way to get your relationship right with God.
  • Be happy in Jesus!  Don’t live “the sour life!”

 

 

(“Characteristics of Bitterness” – Guide to Biblical Counseling.  Clinton and Hawkins.)

 

 

 

 

A Parental Challenge

A Parental Challenge

The following moth story can help us understand part of our role as parents:  “One man noticed an emperor moth struggling to emerge through a small hole in its cocoon so he decided to assist it. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the cocoon. The moth emerged easily, but it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The little moth spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly. Later the man learned the struggle required for the moth to get through the tiny opening were God’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the moth into its wings so that it would be ready for flight. By depriving the moth of a struggle, he deprived the moth of health.” – Fresh

Sometimes allowing a child to suffer consequences is the best thing for them to develop proper character going forward.   Parenting is such a demanding calling and requires much patience and personal discipline to properly train and develop a child.  Parenting is a challenge!

Colossians 3:21 teaches, “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.”

Parents who take serious the Bible admonitions about parenting will want to know what this verse means in their daily life.  Parents must be parenting with purpose.  There must be an end goal, a hopeful desire that you want to see achieved before your child leaves your home.  Besides the physical and academic growth, we should strive for our children to be more like Jesus, exhibiting real Christ-likeness and not simply outer conformity. It is a terrific goal.  Consistent and specific development objectives should be worked towards.

Part of the goals you have should include – not discouraging your child.

Discouraged is defined as “to be spiritless, i.e. disheartened: –to be dismayed.”

Have you ever watched a child wondering through life and it seems his eyes are glazed over?  Perhaps you have seen a teenager seem totally in a fog.  Sometimes this is attributed to illegal drugs, or it may be a child who has been abused or neglected.  Sometimes it is caused by overused behavioral medications.  At any rate, we have all seen children that seem to have no drive, desire, or motivation. They are emotionless, going through the motions of life.

A child living with a lot of anger eventually becomes a child who has been discouraged to the extreme.  He may look as if he has no reason to live.   According to Colossians 3:21, a parent could provoke his child to this extreme form of discouragement.

Provoke is a Bible term that means to “to stimulate (especially to anger).” In the context of this verse, the word “anger” is connected to this word “provoke.”

Angry words, lifting of the voice, a lack of attention, a perception of not loving or caring could each be ways a child is stimulated to anger.

Anger left unchanged will become consistent discouragement.  Disillusionment can set in early in life.  So many children today are cynical about life.

There are many other areas we could consider that could provoke a child to anger: making fun of a child, making a big deal about small things, not giving a purpose in the home (such as responsibilities which give meaning and purpose), embarrassing a child on purpose, and even  not giving good council and clear direction for choices (“What do you want to do?” Is not good parenting.  “What does God want you to do?” Or, “What does the Bible say you should do?” Is much better.).  You get the idea.  Here are three areas we must avoid or we may provoke our children to anger and if left unchecked, disillusionment with life could develop:

  • Allowing Arguing is not proper parenting. When a parent comes down to peer level and allows arguing, it creates insecurity in the child and feeds the natural man’s desire for rebellion.  A child allowed to argue will become good at manipulation to get his or her own way.  Big and sweeping changes happen in a family when a child becomes boss.  Even the least bit of argument can create a spirit of anger.  Constant battles, raised voices, angry words, flashes of facial hatred should not be tolerated. Be firm and be loving. Be the parent. Be the boss.
  • Accepting Un-Thankfulness ill prepares a child for life. Not developing an attitude of appreciation is a fast way to provoke to anger. A child left to be un-thankful will find nothing to be “good enough in life.”  An un-thankful heart is a rebellious heart for the Lord said: “In everything give thanks.”

This is generally seen in complaining.  For example: “School is not good enough – I need to transfer.  Church programs are not good enough. Friends are not good enough. The food is terrible. A Birthday gift was not big enough. I wish I had more_______.”

A parent determined to not see their child angry and discouraged will not seek to constantly please the child but will do everything possible develop an attitude that does not complain.  “Attitude Adjustments” are needed in some children more than others.

A child left to complain will grow into young adulthood and never find contentment and satisfaction unless the Lord dramatically changes their life.  A college class will be “no good.” A married spouse will “not satisfy me.” The workplace will be “boring” and “I hate my job” will become the norm. Just “getting by” will become common place.  A person like this also becomes real adept at skipping around from church to church.

  • Removing Anticipation. Kids should have something to look forward to with each new school year, and with each age they arrive at.  Becoming a teenager should be mysterious and include new things to look forward to.  Becoming a college student and young adult should be exciting.  Saving sex for marriage is part of the mystery and awe for newlyweds. Anticipation is needed in life.

In our family, our children are taught to look forward to the next step.  For example: A full size bicycle at age 11, youth group starting in grade 7, summer Bible camp in grade 8, for the girls – earrings after age 11, a driver license at 16, the chance to play on a High School sports team in High School.  You get the picture.  However you choose to develop your child – it must include anticipation for something special about the future.

When kids are given everything – they will develop a sense of emptiness and shallowness.  Some have so much given so early in life – they have nothing to look forward to and start searching and longing for a reason to live.  This is one reason so many turns to vapes, tobacco, alcohol, illegal drugs and illicit sexual activity; it is sometimes because they have nothing good to look forward to.

Take this parental challenge: Don’t allow arguing, change the bad attitude of un-appreciation, and make every year something to look forward to with great anticipation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elevate Your Head

Elevate Your Head

And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.  Colossians 1:18

This sounds like medical advice, but it is also a practical reality of our humanity.  As humans we tend to elevate your physical heads.  Think of this for a moment.  Our head (comprised of everything above our neck) is held high when we walk.  We hold our head up above our body when we are seated.  Even lying down in bed, we use a pillow to elevate our head above the rest of our body.  Reasons for the head being above the body are practical and range from health, function, blood flow, balance, and protection of the head and brain.

With even greater care than our body places on holding up our physical head, we are to lift up the head of the Church.  Jesus is the head of believers and must be elevated above individual Christians.  Our thoughts, opinions, and goals must be subservient to the Lord.  In a way, our thoughts, opinions and goals must be formed by Jesus rather than ourselves.

Our human nature screams and rebels at placing someone else above us in authority and power.  Submitting to God and yielding to His Word and Holy Spirit is how we elevate Jesus above ourselves.  We can take it personally and choose to rebel and side with our sin nature, or we can willingly submit with humility to the Lord.

When you find yourself in a conflict with a spouse, it could be that you are elevating yourself above what the Lord would have you do or say.  When you are disappointed or even angry with someone or something at church, it could be that you are placing your will above the will of God.  When the workplace seems troublesome, it could be that your expectations are not the expectations that the Lord has for your work.

Who is the head of your life?  If you are making “all the calls” for your life, then you are missing the point of Colossians 1:18.  Let Jesus have the Preeminence in your life.  Because Jesus rose from the dead; He is worthy of being the head of our lives.

Jesus does not want to be an important part of your life.  Jesus wants to be the preeminent part of your life- your head.  Consult God’s Word.  Pray.  Seek counsel of your pastor.  Place God above all your choices and lifestyle decisions.   Follow the leader.  When we lift up Jesus instead of ourselves, our lives then honor the Lord and He has room to work incredible miracles in our lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Be Mad

Don’t Be Mad

“And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad. But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.”    Acts 26:24-25

We all have heard phrases such as: “fit of rage, moment of anger, display of frustration…”  These are all expressions describing someone who is anger or acting out with anger in their heart.  These phrases are used when a person commits an action under the influence of their anger.  “Rage, wrath, angry, and anger” are common words in Scripture.  While controlled and confessed anger can be good, consistent anger is not.  Ephesians 4:26-27 clearly teaches: “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.”  Like angry waves beating against the sea shore, consistent anger can change the landscape of your heart.

The Apostle Paul is giving his testimony in Acts 26.  He is in the custody of Festus, a Roman Magistrate.  King Agrippa comes to Caesarea where Paul is staying.  I have been to the incredible ruins of the Caesars palace in Caesarea.  Paul would have appeared somewhere in this location.  Festus and Agrippa then allow Paul to speak to them and present “his case.”  King Agrippa and does not understand his message and says that Paul is “mad.”  As Paul taught about his Jewish heritage, Festus a Roman, had no comprehension.  When Paul said that Jesus had spoken to him following His death on the Cross, and then described the resurrection, Festus speaks these words suggesting that Paul was “out of his mind” and was not thinking clearly.

“Mad” in this passage is referring to “unintelligible thinking.”  Paul made a lot of sense to Agrippa who is “almost persuaded” to become a Christian, but the message did not make sense to Festus.  Today we use the word “mad” to describe a person who is angry about something and they are expressing to others their anger.  We use it in much the same way but almost always connected to an angry person. Perhaps you have asked: “What is she mad about today?”

An observation we must make is this: We are not thinking right when we are “mad.”  When we are angry, controlled by rage, or justifying our wrath, we are acting and thinking “crazy.”  If we allow anger to control our thoughts and actions every day, it will impact our relationships, change our perspective, and even do damage to our physical body.  Most importantly a mad person damages his fellowship with God.

Check out these examples:  Proverbs 14:17 “He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated.”  Proverbs 29:22 “An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.”  See how being angry causes a person to not think correctly?

Jonah is a good example of how anger causes us to not think right.  He allows his anger to make him say foolish things and even pray in foolish ways.  Jonah was not thinking clearly.  Note Jonah 4:1-3:  “But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.  And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.  Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.”

Jonah has just preached and seen thousands upon thousands of people get right with God.  He is amazed that God would forgive the evil society he preached to so he gets angry.  Why say foolish things like “It’s better for me to die than live?”  Why be “mad” after such success?  His wrong thinking was brought on by his uncontrolled, unwarranted anger.

Don’t be mad!  Ask forgiveness for the sin of consistent anger and choose to think clearly by the grace of God.