We couldn't find what you are looking for. Try searching for something else.
God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God. - Matthew 5:9 (NLT)
Before the biblical character, David, became a successful king over God’s people, Israel, he was on the run from their current king. David was a bandit of sorts, but a natural leader so he had a small army with him in a part of the world where good guys and bad guys roamed free, “policing” themselves, kinda like the old west.
In this setting, a guy named Nabal had a big farm and David’s men protected Nabal’s flock. With danger lurking, it was a common practice for groups like David’s to protect other’s land and property in exchange for benefits like food, water, money, or other commodities. David’s men go to ask for a pretty reasonable “payback” for their services but Nabal flies off the handle and insults David’s men. Now, any litigator may quickly point out that nowhere is there a contract, verbal or written, set up for these services, so Nabal didn’t need to provide “payback” to anyone. However, in the wild-west, open-range-style setting, David gets the word about Nabal’s insults and rejection and is ready to take him out. One man's anger begets another man's anger.
Reading the story we’re likely inclined to side with David, but when we fast forward in scripture we come across Jesus, a descendant of David, the ultimate “King” of all God’s people. Unlike David, he is a proponent of keeping peace, even after being personally offended. David could have chosen to forgive Nabal’s offense and moved on but he gets his posse together and heads for a fight. We’ll learn tomorrow what happens next. Today let’s open our hearts and minds to a Spirit-led approach to offense and resulting anger.
Set a 3-minute timer and write out every person or situation that has made you frustrated or angry within the last week. (Go back further in your mind if you need to.) Now, ask God to guide you into a posture of peace for the rest of today as you read back through the names and situations.Share Tweet
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:19 (NIV)
Yesterday we talked about the fight brewing between Nabal and David. In an attempt to intervene, Nabal’s wife Abigail gets word that David is coming after Nabal. She intercepts David and his men and mediates the situation. Her mediation, gifting them supplies, spares a massacre and sets her and David’s life on a new trajectory. The entire story is really fascinating and worth a read. Check it out here.
Staying focused on the anger of Nabal and David, it’s key to recognize that one of the biggest factors fueling anger is unmet needs. For me, when my need to be respected or given space and time to recharge as an introvert is unmet, I find myself very short tempered. My wife and I often joke with others, “When we got married we realized we were selfish, and when we had kids we realized we were angry.” My kids don’t behave the way I want and so my struggle for “control” is a real battle.
With so many readers it’s impossible to find the single thread weaving together all our struggles with anger, but for a high percentage of us, it is going to be tied to an unmet need. Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God will meet all of your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Often times when we struggle with anger we are trying to address a need or several needs in our lives that have not been met. The Bible teaches us that God will supply all of our needs. So either God isn’t doing His job or we are missing out on His provision.
Today set a 3-minute timer and list every single thing you can think of that has been provided for you in your life. Take another 3 minutes to praise and thank God for all of these blessings. Now, take another 3 minutes and text or email one person a thank you for something they did for you recently.Share Tweet
“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry. - Ephesians 4:26 (NIV)
On Sunday, as part of our Dashboard series, we explored the Temperature Gauge. The overall challenge is for us to deal with anger in a productive way. Scripture is clear anger isn’t inherently sinful when it says, “In your anger do not sin.” We saw some bad examples earlier this week in Nabal and David but Jesus takes a different approach. When Jesus cleared the Temple of scam artists, He was expressing anger about what God’s house had become. He used physical force and strong words to confront a real endemic problem. And yet, in His anger, He did not sin.
Sunday Jon gave us great steps to use with our approach to anger. The first two were to Reveal the source of your resentment. And, Reflect before you react. When we slow down to evaluate the anger that rises up in us, we can invite God into our response. Revealing and reflection take discipline and self-control. Both are attributes of the Holy Spirit's work in our lives. Listen to how the Bible describes life under the control of the Holy Spirit:
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” When we reveal the source of growing resentment and we reflect on its impact, we slow down to let God’s good work happen in us. Fruit grows over time, in rich soil, and so the antidote to anger is a slow, disciplined, and careful process. Let’s take some time today to practice reveal and reflect.
Reveal. On Monday we made a list of things or people that had made us angry. If you still have that list handy grab it. If you don’t make a new one.
Reflect. Invite, through prayer, your Father in Heaven to give you His perspective on the biggest sources of anger in your life. Ask Him to reveal what you have contributed and what may be causing this person or situation to have gotten to this point.Share Tweet
And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire... It can set your whole life on fire... - James 3:6 (NLT)
Sunday Jon shared four steps with us. Today we’ll look at the third step for engaging anger. After we reveal the source and reflect, we were challenged to restrain our remarks. To shoot straight with you, I’m ok with the first two steps but the third step is HARD! Depending on the situation, I’m willing to share my anger verbally. I’m not just willing, I’m eager and (too often) enjoy it. And therein lies the problem. The majority of the damage I’ve done with my mouth is a result of a slight or offense that causes me to lash out verbally.
However, if I’ve disciplined myself to take time and reveal the source of my anger and reflect on it, I’m much more likely to be able to restrain my remarks. When I skip the first two steps, the third one is almost impossible for me. Even if I restrain my remarks in the moment, I can vent to someone else after the fact and it quickly becomes good old fashioned gossip and slander.
The blessing of steps one and two are the gift of controlling my big fat mouth. It’s what the Bible calls taming the tongue. Jesus’ brother James uses a word picture. He tells us that a small spark can set a great forest on fire. When we control our tongue we limit the damaging potential in our anger and clear a path for the fourth step Jon gave us. We’ll talk more about releasing the desire to retaliate tomorrow. For today let’s reflect on these questions...
Is it easy or hard for you to restrain your remarks? What circumstances make it hard? Who can you talk to about the situations in which it's hard to restrain your remarks? We’d love to help you with pastoral or professional support for anger. Jennifer Wallace works with me at Southland and is glad to help you find a safe place to process your anger. Give her a shout via email today.Share Tweet
Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good. - Romans 12:21 (NLT)
I read a blog recently that was titled, “Death by Vending Machine.” It had nothing to do with a link to heart disease or cancer from the machine's contents. It was about people that got angry at the machine holding their food item hostage, and, when trying to shake it loose, they were crushed by the machine. (Sorry for the rough start to Friday.)
One of the things anger does is blind us. It robs us of perspective and we get so engrossed in an offense that we end up in a dangerous spot. This week we’ve learned what anger looks like from Nabal and David. We’ve reviewed three of four steps that Jon gave us for engaging anger. Today we’ll look at the fourth step and that is to release the desire to retaliate.
Most of us have heard the phrase, “I don’t get mad, I get even.” That statement is a total misnomer; you are still angry, you just bury it for a time when you can extract a more calculated form of revenge. Retaliation or revenge may feel good in the moment, but it won’t satisfy. The Bible warns us against this and calls us to turn the desire for revenge over to God.
Romans 12:19 commands, “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.” The context is living at peace with others. Why turn it over to God? Well, He’s the only one who can fill in the gaps that offense has left in our hearts. It’s right from the heart of Jesus, who took on false accusations to pave the way for His death on the cross. If Jesus can hand over the ultimate offense he faced, extending forgiveness on that cross, I can surely let a dollar go that’s lost to a faulty vending machine.