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Not Easily Angered & No Lists

February 16, 2012 Leave a comment

***
A young man walks with a baby stroller with a crying baby inside. The young man speaks quietly, “Calm down George, don’t scream, George, quiet, George!” An elderly woman passing by stops and tells him, “I see you are really patient with your son George”…The man answers, “I am George”.

***

So who hear has an anger problem?  How many of you have the occasional outburst?  How many of you, if I asked you about a random person in your life, could name the last three things they did against you?  The section of this famous passage we’re focusing on today has to do with these two things.  Anger and keeping a list of things done against you.  These two things are discussed within the context of perfect love…the picture of Christ himself.

This verse specifically says that love isn’t “easily angered.”  Now, all through the Bible, anger is discussed.  David, in many of his Psalms, writes of God’s anger towards His enemies.  David also writes that God is slow to become angry but He is rich in love (Psalm 145:8).  In Psalm 103 David records that God’s anger is not harbored forever.  So we can see that God has an appropriate and righteous anger against things reflecting evil.  But His love overshadows that anger.  In James 1:19-20, James writes that we, as believers in Jesus, should be slow to anger because human anger does not produce things of God.  Human anger is selfish.  Human anger doesn’t fit well into the command ‘…love your neighbor as yourself.”  Can a person, a creation of God, feel righteous anger like God feels?  I believe we can, but David warns us about anger.  In Psalm 37 David writes that anger will only lead to evil.  Anger is obviously a very powerful emotion and feeling.  It seems to me, from what I read, that anger is something that God has the right to, but we as humans should stay away from.  Expressing anger may be the first step to our downfall…to the ruin of our reputation…to turning someone away from the Savior that we profess.  Anger is not pretty.  It usually leads to words and actions and regret.  Not only these things, but medical science has shown that our bodies don’t handle angry stress well either.  Blood pressure pills are downed by many an angry person each and every day.

People who are easily angered as well as quiet people who have a huge amount of patience are often plagued by the next “not” part of this verse.  Love does not keep an ongoing list of wrongs.  Let’s look at one event that I marvel at each time I read it.  In the book of Acts we have recorded for us the quick accusation, trial and murder of a follower of Jesus.  Stephen was a man picked by the disciples to become a ministry leader within the church.  Soon thereafter, Stephen was wrongly accused of breaking the law (Acts 6).  He stood before his accusers and told the story of how Jesus came to save the world from sin.  His accusers didn’t even let him finish when they quickly dragged him outside the city gates and stoned him to death.  As earthly life was leaving his body, he looked around and asked God to not hold this sin against those throwing the stones (Acts 7:60).  Jesus said the same on the cross as He looked across the band of people hurling insults at Him while waiting for Him to take His last breath.  This is the exact opposite of keeping a record of wrongs.  Forgiveness on the spot.

Jesus speaks to this when He talks to the disciples about prayer (Matthew 6:14).  Jesus forgives us.  Therefore, we should forgive others.  The Bible states that love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).  It doesn’t say, “I love you…and oh…remember all those things you did against me?!”  Jesus, while explaining the new covenant through the last supper, explained that the wine was a reminder to us of the blood that washes away our sin (Matthew 26:28).  If God kept a record of our wrongs there’d be no way of us getting into Heaven.  Jesus provided us a way to have those sins erased.  Christ compels us to have the same attitude towards others and Paul writes about it here in this passage.

Love without anger and without lists is what we’re called to.  It matches the love of Jesus.  We’re called to let His light shine through us.  If we allow our anger or our list-making to get in the way, then Jesus can’t truly shine.  People won’t see Him through our actions or words.  They’ll see us…and we can’t be their way to eternity with their Father.  Help people see Jesus because He’s the way to Heaven…the only way.  Think about it, everything Jesus did was within the objective of getting people to Heaven with Him.

Love-Serve-Spread the Word,

ed

Proverbs 15:1 ~ A gentle answer turns anger away. But mean words stir up anger.

Questions for Growth – Ok…this list of questions will be tough for some of you.  If you are one who is easily angered, you’re probably slow to see your own anger.  It’s just what is.  Most people who easily blow a fuse don’t think they blow fuses.  So, what I ask is that you look in the mirror and see yourself not with any masks…but as Jesus sees you.  Maybe watch a movie or TV show and watch how angry people are received by others.  Watch how other people internalize anger that is directed at them.  This might give you a picture of what your anger does to those around you.

  • Do you have an anger issue?  Be honest?
  • Do you easily want to throw out words or phrases when someone creates a scenario that makes you angry?
  • What would 30 seconds of second-thinking on your part do for the person you’re about to blast?
  • How would some of your relationships change if you could get past what someone else has done to you…either intentionally or unintentionally?  What’s holding you back from forgiving them?  You might not be able to forget…but you can definitely stop from holding something against them.
  • If you are an easily angered person or one who keeps lists, can you imagine what life might be like for those around you if you were to walk with the love Paul writes about?  What would change……?

The Heart of a Killer

February 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Anger leads to hate. Hate Leads to suffering. ~Yoda

The Heart of a Killer

Husband to wife: When I get mad at you, you never fight back. How do you control your anger?

Wife: I clean the toilet bowl.

Husband: How does that help?

Wife: I use your toothbrush.

Matthew 5:17 has Jesus telling the his disciples …and itching ears gathered around…that He hasn’t come to get rid of the 10 commandments or what the prophets of old had to say.  He said that He had come to fulfill them.  Fulfilling them is something that no one had ever been able to do.  Paul writes in Romans 3:10 that we are all imperfect when in view of God’s rules.  We have all sinned.  Jesus didn’t.  Jesus knew the correct view of sin…it is separation from God.

In these verses we’re focusing on this week, Jesus says that we’ve all heard that we shouldn’t kill…but He has more to say.  Don’t even hate.  Let’s go back to what God’s plan was and very much still is.  Us face to face, hand in hand, with Him forever.  Jesus brings up ‘hate.’  Isn’t that just the very opposite of the picture of Grace?  If there is hatred present, grace cannot be present.  Jesus’ whole life, sacrifice and resurrection was all about Grace!

As the church, God’s family on this planet, we are to not only be an image of God and His love, we’re to be His hands and feet as well.  Not only the hands and feet of Jesus, but also messengers both through words and actions. We’re the delivery people.  As UPS says in their current commercials, we’re the logistics behind the delivery of Grace.  Hate will completely mess this process up.

Yoda’s wisdom rings in my brain with this subject.  I know…he is a technical puppet in a movie from Hollywood…but when Truth speaks you listen and apply.  Here’s the quote, “…Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”  Uncontrolled anger will lead to us being separated more from our Lord and Creator.  It’s about that simple.

Jesus said at one point in His ministry that He had come to give us a full life (John 10:10).  Hating, staying in a state of anger, gossiping negatively against someone, slandering someone’s character even if they’re wrong…is stealing that full life from them.  The opposite of Life is Death.  Life is being in a full relationship with God and His son Jesus.  Death is the absence of that relationship.  Don’t let your hate potentially take away someone else’s chance at full life.  You might just lead them into hatred as well.  Ouch.

Looking at this through the eyes of Jesus, why would we ever want to steal that life from someone?  Why would we ever put ourselves in a position where we’re walking away from it ourselves?  This is huge in our world today.  Our world doesn’t need more anger or hatred.  It needs the opposite.  Guess what, as confessed Christians, we carry it (Life and Grace) around.  Hate will keep us from handing it out freely.

Giving up anger that leads to hate that leads to suffering and death is sacrifice.  Misguided and uncontrolled anger is based inside us…it is selfishness.  Giving it up is sacrifice.  Grace is a gift.  Here’s a snippet from a blog that I read regularly.  The writers of this online based ministry have started a little group to get people moving away from hate and toward a more grace filled life.  Here’s the site – http://www.potsc.com/potsc/the-grace-mob/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+PeopleOfTheSecondChanceBlog+(People+of+the+Second+Chance+Blog)&utm_content=FaceBook.  I know it’s long, but it will take you right to where this is excerpt is from.

We are GRACE in ACTION.

We’re setting out to be the first in line to forgive.
We’re racing to release grudges.
We’re making room for those on life’s margins.
We’re raising our voices for the vulnerable.
We’re accepting the unacceptable.
We’re becoming the Red Cross relief team for the disasters in people’s personal lives… and doing it in ACTION.

Hate will keep us from this type of attitude, behavior and life.  If we’re making choices that keep us away, how can we bring more people to the Truth of Jesus love?  This is where the church, God’s family, looks and acts and thinks and speaks different from anyone else on the globe.

Choose Grace.  Sacrifice your hate.  Life is short.  Heaven is forever.

Don’t have the heart of a killer….have the heart of a life-giver.

Love-Serve-Spread the Word,

ed

Categories: Grace Tags: , , ,

What Goes Around, Comes Around!

March 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Genesis 29:15-30


******

“Honeyhttp://kona.kontera.com/javascript/lib/imgs/grey_loader.gif,” said this husband to his wife,
“I invited a friendhttp://kona.kontera.com/javascript/lib/imgs/grey_loader.gif home for supper.”
“What? Are you crazy? The house is a mess, I didn’t go shopping, all the dishes are dirty, and I don’t feel like cooking a fancy meal!”
“I know all that.”
“Then why did you invite a friend for supper?”
“Because the poor fool’s thinking about getting
married.”

******

I know, that’s an arrrgghhh joke. But if anyone had told Jacob what he was in for when he started to fall in love with Rachel, second thoughts might have crept in. I’m not completely positive about that, but they might have. In the end of this story, what we find is that not only is Jacob a ornery guy (as with his brother Esau), but he could be a very patient and committed person when he wanted to be.

Here’s Jacob, the new owner of the Blessing of God and a birthright that wasn’t his. However, he can’t stay around and farm with mom and dad because his brother is literally out to kill him (Gen 27:41). His mom and dad have made arrangements for him to leave (flee) to Haran. When Jacob gets there, he meets his cousin Rachel. She’s a sight! He helps her water her flocks, and tells her who he is…and probably admitting some of the recent stories from back home. She goes and get’s her dad, his uncle Laban. Laban is very pleased to have his nephew around, his own family. I’m someone certain that Laban sees a new worker, one who comes from the “blessed” line of Abraham as well. That’s just a guess though. Anyways, he opens up his home to Jacob, and Jacob jumps right in to help around the house and farm.

Laban appreciates Jacobs selfless work, and offers him payment. Jacob asks for Rachel’s hand in marriage. A deal is set that he must work 7 years for this payment, and Jacob agrees. Seven years of labor come and go, and the wedding night is at hand. The bride is dressed to impress, and Jacob probably can’t wait to say the “I do’s.” The bride meets Jacob, face and body covered modestly (as the custom was), and after the ceremony and wedding night, Jacob wakes up to a … well, the gal who he thought was going to be his new sister in-law. Leah is Jacob’s wife…?!

What does Jacob do?! He leaves Leah and runs off to tell his mom the whole story that his uncle Laban is a cheat. Well, no. It seems orneriness runs in this family, as Jacob finds out that Uncle Laban is up to no good…switched the brides right in front of his eyes. Laban simply says that it is not customary for the younger daughter to be married before the older. He offers Rachel, again, for 7 more years of work. Jacob sticks with Leah, even though he doesn’t love her like Rachel, and commits to the agreement. It seems as though he kept his integrity by not causing a big stir, going and spreading gossip about this family, and staying with his new wife to save her embarrassment as well. A week comes and goes and then Rachel is married to Jacob, and Jacob stays for 7 more years.

Think about all that could have happened here. Talk about having a rug pulled out from under you. I’m sure Jacob and thought through future plans for he and Rachel…considering the promise he had received from God while on his way to Haran (Gen 28:10). He had seven years to think this stuff through. And in the course of one honeymoon night, it all changed…and not by his doing. He stuck to his plan though. And God to His own as well. God’s plan was still moving. The promise was advancing. God’s heart was still where it had always been…to bring people back to him for eternity. Ornery people were not going to change it.

The reason we shouldn’t give up or give in when it comes to life’s unfairness, is because God is always moving ahead of us for our own good and for His plan to be accomplished. We just need to get back on the right road where we can be right with him. Do you think that God’s promise was always in Jacob’s mind? Do you think that’s where his “stick-to-it” attitude came from? He knew he was blessed with an incredible blessing and that God was with him wherever he went. I’m sure that gave him a confidence like non other.

Let’s admit it…Live stinks sometimes. Do we have that confidence as leaders in the Kingdom? Do we advance as though we are winners whatever happens to us, fair or unfair? Do we live as though we’ve already seen and received the most incredible blessing ever? When we do talk, listen, behave, decide, teach, work like we have, then others will see us and wonder what in the world drives us. They will see the blessing being lived out…and God will get to bless their shoes off through us.

Categories: Revenge Tags: , , ,

The Anatomy of a Grudge

March 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Genesis 27


HUSBAND: When I get mad at you, you never fight back. How do you control your anger?

WIFE : I clean the toilet….

HUSBAND: How does that help ?

WIFE : I use your toothbrush.

Anger. Resentment. Jealousy. Threats. Trickery. Manipulation. Deception. Sounds like words that may be splashed across a new thriller movie trailer. Nope, it’s just words describing this little story in the account of Jacob and Esau. Isaac is the lone person here who doesn’t seem to do anything wrong. Jacob, Esau and Rebekah are guilty as charged.

Long story short, Jacob is encouraged by his mom to steal his brother’s blessing from his old and blind father. After successfully seeing this task through, Esau then plans to commit murder. Rebekah has seen her wish come true, that her younger son would receive the God given blessing of the family. Isaac is ticked that he’s been lied to. Esau is overwhelmed with the thoughts that he has now lost twice. The first time in the kitchen with his brother when he gave away his inheritance, and the now the second as he has lost his father’s death bed blessing. Jacob then has to flee, hearing from his mom, the informant, that Esau is going to kill him. Talk about family baggage.

The only good thing here is that even in the midst of all this corruption and orneriness, God still uses this family to continue the Abrahamic blessing. God works through all of their problems and sinfulness to keep His Righteous plan on track. Would there or could there have been a better way? Maybe. Remember though that this was foretold in Genesis 25 when God told Rebekah that this would all take place…and her own hands helped the situation. Was it her helping God’s plan come true, or was it her love of the younger son that blinded her to compassion for both? Who knows? But what we do know is that Jacob ends up traveling through the land that God has promised his family as he escapes his brother’s murder bent anger, and Esau ends up marrying into Ishmael’s family. How ironic! What a story line.

Leadership point. Always watch for where God is headed and follow. We know that God is using this family to bless all nations…even though there is sin and deception and pride. God also wants to use us, even though we are sinful, deceptive and often full of self. Anger could always step in the way and raise its ugly head. It is up to us to keep a clear head and conscience. From the story we see that God does not stop His will from happening simply because He has to work with a messed up family. He works in spite of them. The same is true of us. I do, however, believe that God would much rather work with us when we have dealt with our own weaknesses, such as anger and selfishness.

When anger bites and we give in, we lose all potential for allowing peace to work in any situation. I’m not talking about being angry with something that is wrong. I’m talking about when anger causes us to hate, ruin, connive, gossip, ….etc. Is this what “love your neighbor as yourself” encourages? Obviously not. God wants us to steer clear of allowing anger to rule our soul. When it is there controlling us, God isn’t. God wants us to yield to Him so that we can become and stay a vehicle for blessing all around us, as Abraham was promised.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , , , , , , ,
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