Tomorrow, I turn 72! I know, I know, I can’t believe it either! This is the age when I can truthfully say, “When I was your age….” No, I did not walk 6 miles to school, uphill, in a blinding snow storm, no shoes, etc. but I HAVE seen some tremendous changes in my life time:
- Rotary phones to cell phones
- Black & white TV (no remote) to color 82″ screen that you can record using your smart phone.
- I learned to drive a car with standard transmission, no A/C, no radio. Now cars can tell you where to go (GPS), drive themselves, and a host of features too long to mention here.
But the greatest change I have noticed is level of anger in our society. I know that anger has been around since the beginning of time but people no longer care to even control there anger. In the past, people may have been angry but they controlled it; they did not express it. If you did not like someone; you at least treated them civilly and with respect. People are not embarrassed by their anger but rather it seen a a badge of courage!
- People interrupted the Supreme Court confirmation hearing just because the nominee did not share the same political view.
- North Korea and China hates America.
- Democrats hate Republicans and President Trump.
- Citizens did not hate Trump until he became President.
- White Supremacists hate people of color or their nationality.
- McDonald worker puts cleaner in policeman’s food.
- Democrats vow to fight Brett Kavanaugh even after his appointment.
Anger is an emotion that is common to man. Anger is not bad by itself. Anger becomes wrong when we allow it to control us.
“If you become angry, do not let your anger lead you into sin, and do not stay angry all day.” Ephesians 4:26
Venting your anger does not help the situation. “Human anger doesn’t produce the holy life God wants.” James 1:20
Never be bitter, angry, or mad. Never shout angrily or say things to hurt others. Never do anything evil. Ephesians 4:31
Allow me to leave you with this advise; “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,” James 1:9
The story is told of a man that had been feeling very sick. He finally went to the doctor to find out what was wrong with him. The doctor put him through a lot of tests and found the source of his illness. The doctor said, “I am afraid I have bad news for you. You have rabies. It is in the advanced stage and you do not have long to live.”
The man bowed his head and asked for a pen and paper. The doctor asked if he was writing out his last will and testament. The man replied, “No. I am making a list of people I want to bite before I die.”
One of the major themes of the Bible is forgiveness; whether God forgives us or we forgive others. We are living in an age where it seems that everyone is overly sensitive and feel they have been wronged, offended, or cheated. As a result, they internalize the pain and refuse to forgive that person.
Since God commands us to forgive, we must make a conscious choice to obey God and forgive. The offender may not desire forgiveness and may not ever change, but that doesn’t negate God’s desire that we possess a forgiving spirit (Matthew 5:44). If you do not forgive others, God cannot forgive you! Matthew 6:14-15
Someone once said that refusing to someone is like you drinking poison and hoping the other person dies.
If someone from another planet were to visit planet earth and observe the behavior of the inhabitants, they would come to the conclusion that we are angry race! Every where we look we see anger or the consequences of someone’s anger.
- An Olympic athlete refuses to participate in the opening ceremony. Why? He is angry that HE was not chosen to carry the USA flag!
- Politicians refuse to stand during the State of the Union message. They are angry that THEIR candidate was elected and THEIR party is not in control.
- Road rage is a common occurrence on most highways. (And parking lots!)
For many people, anger is a default emotion. When someone embarrasses us, rarely do we feel embarrassment. Most of the time, that embarrassment also makes us angry! If you want to read a case study in anger, read the story of Samson in the Book of Judges. I do not have space to elaborate all the ‘incidents’ that caused Samson to be angry but in reality, almost everything that happened was his own fault. At any point, he could have backed off, even just a little. If he had taken a minute to cool off, maybe he could have turned things around.
If you are angry at those around you, where is your responsibility? I have often heard people say, “They make me so angry!” But the reality is we allow people to make us mad. We choose [sometimes unconsciously] to be angry. It is time to stop making excuses for our behavior and own our part. Ask forgiveness if you need to. And not just from God but from the people you may have hurt. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you.
To be honest, I cannot get my mind around the senseless killing of our law enforcement officers. I do understand that those who committed these crimes have a totally different world view than most of the world. They have been taught from childhood to hate and distrust anything that even hints of authority.
Most people do not realize that God instituted authority for our good and those who have authority are God’s “agents.” Listen to Romans 13:1-5 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities,for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
I realized that there are a FEW people who will misuse their authority but we cannot paint ALL police officers with the same wide brush. We need to respect those in authority and pray for them daily.
It amazes me that people are able to communicate with each other just by having a certain look on their face. A mother can give her child a certain look and the child knows they are in trouble. A young man, trying to win the heart of a young lady, can tell by the look on her face whether his efforts are welcomed.
When Jesus Christ walked this earth, He conveyed a range of emotions by the way He looked at people.
- Matthew 9:36 “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them…”
- Mark 8:33 “Jesus turned around. He looked at His followers and spoke sharp words to Peter…”
- Mark 10:21 “Jesus looked at him with love…”
But the most notable look that Jesus gave anyone was when He looked at Peter after Peter betrayed Him. Luke 22:61 “Just then, the Master turned and looked at Peter. Peter remembered what the Master had said to him: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” He went out and cried and cried and cried.”
But Luke fails to describe what that look conveyed. Anger? Sadness? Disappointment? Compassion? Though no one can say for sure, I am inclined to believe it was a look of compassion.
In 1951, the movie The Day the Earth Stood Still was a box office hit! Today it is considered a film classic. When a flying saucer lands in Washington, D.C., the U. S. Army quickly encircles the spaceship. A humanoid (Michael Rennie) emerges, announcing that he has come in peace. His galaxy has been obsereving Earth and they are concerned about the Earth’s future.
As many of the world’s greatest scientists gather, Klaatu (the alien) pointedly tells them that the people of Earth have a choice. They can join the other planets in peace, but should they threaten to extend their violence into space, “this Earth of yours will be reduced to a burned-out cinder. We shall be waiting for your answer”. Klaatu then leaves as he came.
Though this was produced years ago, it shows us that America was concerned with its future years ago. Weapons have since developed that people in 1951 could never have imagined. Laser weapons. Heat-seeking missles. Drones. Dirty bombs. Iran and North Korea with nuclear weapons. We have the capability of destroying each other many times over!
While this film is fictional it is thought-provoking. How long can this world survive? How long before God says, “Enough!” Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassion never fail.” Lamentations 3:22-23
Have you ever heard someone say, “They make me so mad?” Of course you have, maybe you said that yourself. But is it really true? Can people “make” you mad? I know there are people that know which “buttons” to push to upset you. They know how to “get your goat.” But we need to ask ourselves, who is in charge of my emotions?
To say that someone, other than yourself can promote a certain emotional response from you is to they can control you to some extent. But the Bible is clear that each Christ-follower is to be controlled by the Holy Spirit and not our emotions. Eph. 4:31 Psalm 37:8
You are to be in control of your emotions. I am not saying we are to deny our emotions (Remember Mr. Spock?) but don’t allow them to control you.
You get angry because you allowed yourself to get angry.