Saturday, July 21, 2012
I had planned to continue with the last contributing factor in my series on Anger, but instead I thought I should comment a little on the latest tragedy to shake our nation. As police begin to release the names of the victims of the Colorado shooting, the country is still trying to come to grips with what gave rise to this display of anger. Because the shooter had to be angry at someone or something to carry out such a callous deed.
As I said in my post, "Anger can be a destructive force that prevents you from enjoying God's best and also land you in a lot of trouble." Whether this young man's anger stemmed from fear, frustration, exhaustion, worry or his environment we may never know. All we know is that twelve innocent people are dead and many more wounded.
Can we as a nation do anything to prevent these random acts of violence from terrorizing our society? Our first response to this question might be "Of course not." But think again. In the Bible we see many instances where God's people were besieged by other nations or they suffered pestilence or famine. But the minute they repented of their sins and turned to God, a change came about.
In 2 Corinthians 6 we see Solomon offering up sacrifices and inviting God's presence into the house he had built for Him and entreating God to hear from heaven and forgive the sins of the people. The whole of that chapter is taken up with Solomon's prayer. In the next chapter, fire comes down from heaven, burns up the sacrifices and the glory of the Lord fills the temple. Later in the chapter Gpd makes this promise to Solomon: "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray , and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land" (v 14).
It is still God's promise to us today. We can have an anger-free environment if we would invite God's promise into our homes, schools, workplaces and, yes, theaters. We don't have to live in fear, worry or frustration. We have turned away from God but there is still time to humble ourselves and pray and seek His face and turn from our wicked ways. There is still sand in our hour glass but it's running out fast. We must hurry, and pray.
Saturday, July 14, 2012
We have all seen news reports on television of people fighting in the streets, throwing rocks or hand grenades, aiming machine guns at each other. We may look at them and think that those displays of anger only happen in foreign lands. We may even think they are justified, given the conditions that exist in those places. We never place ourselves on the same footing with "those people." But if we examine our lives a little more closely, we would realize that we too sometimes throw rocks, hand grenades and even machine guns at our loved ones and the people we come into contact with on a daily basis.
Take this scenario: Jane comes in to work one October morning, spots her co-worker Jill wearing a pair of white pants. Jane turns to Mary, another co-worker, and says loud enough for everyone to hear, "I have learned never to wear white pants after Labor Day." Is that a rock or a hand grenade? Whoever said, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words may never hurt me," didn't know what they were talking about.
But throwing hurtful words are not the only forms of anger that we may come across in our environment. There is the body language type of anger. The frigid atmosphere that pervades at the dinner table because Dad doesn't want to be disturbed while he's reading the newspaper. Or, the person who keeps her back turned to you while you are speaking to her. Or the door-slamming, pot-banging, foot-stomping behavior that goes on.
“Words can break someone into a million pieces, but they can also put them back together. I hope you use yours for good, because the only words you'll regret more than the ones left unsaid are the ones you use to intentionally hurt someone.” - Taylor Swift. Do you want your words to bless others or curse them? Lift them up, or tear them down?
Read what James says about the way we use our words: "Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things . Behold , how great a matter a little fire kindleth ! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. 7 For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed , and hath been tamed of mankind : 8 But the tongue can no man tame ; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be" (v 5 - 9).