Tag Archives: wrath

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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Talking But Not Communicating

Talking But Not Communicating

“A Maine potato farmer and a Texas rancher were engaged in conversation at a political rally. The man from the Lone Star State asked, “How much land do you tend?”

“About a hundred acres.”

“I farm about six thousand myself.”

The man from Maine was not overly impressed, so the Texan continued, “There’s a much bigger ranch down near San Antone. To give you an idea of its size, the owner can start off in the morning in his car, and he ain’t barely crossed his place by noon.” “I had a car like that myself once” the man from Maine said.” (-1000)

While this is very funny, sometimes we interact with others in much the same way.  We talk, the other person says something, we speak again.  Who is listening?  How is it that words are said and others (and ourselves) do not hear?

Most of us struggle to some degree with the skill of listening.  Some are better at listening than others but all of us should grow in this area.

Hearing is more than our ears tingling with soundwaves.  Hearing is more than “I need a hearing aid” or “I need to clean the wax out of my ears.”  Hearing is when words and sounds are heard in the ear.  Listening is the processing, and understanding of what is being said.

Some people are so preoccupied in mind they do not “hear.”  Others are so distracted or defensive that they are not listening to what they are hearing or what is being said.

Here are several ideas to help become a better communicator.

  • Stop Everything. Ecclesiastes 5:1 teaches: “Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.”

Please notice how Solomon in His wisdom encouraged “hearing” by stopping other movements.  Turning off the TV and radio, removing the cellphone from your face, and looking the person in the eye is a great way to focus.  In conversation – focus!

  • Value Words. In Matthew 13:17 Jesus says, “For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.”

Because the disciples had faith in Jesus, they could “hear” and “understand” His words.  Many people in the years before Jesus had hoped to “Hear” and “Listen” to the Messiah, but were not able to. They died before He was born in the Flesh.

Jesus is instructing his disciples to cherish the words they are hearing.  Our relationships would take on new meaning if we valued the words of those who are talking to us.

  • Slow Down. James 1:19-20 directs us: “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”

Being quick to speak and fast to become angry does not help in communication.  In fact, these are big hindrances to healthy communication.  Be fast to say nothing, quick to listen and understand, and slow to react to what is being said to you.  Each of us have witnessed times when a person speaks “off topic” answers in a wrong way, or even says things that are untrue and things they regret later because they did not slow down to understand first.

Determine today that with the grace of God you will be a better communicator to be able to listen, talk and have real communication take place.

 

 

 

 

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.