Friday, July 22, 2011

It Just Keeps Hitting the Fan. What's up with That?

My Anger and Fear keep hitting the fan, so to speak.  If my anger and reactions to the things around me, animate and inanimate, was manure, then Tons of it would have hit the fan. Sometimes everyday.  What's wrong with me?

It's wrong. Sometimes I feel like I am on the outside, watching my actions. I have no idea why I am doing what I see and I can't change what I am doing. I even know I am responsible. Why does my fan (life) have to take so many hits with manure (Anger and Fear)?

As with most things in my life, I seek advice from the Bible.  So here is some of what I found about anger in the Bible.

Psalm 4:4 (NLT) "Don’t sin by letting anger control you.Think about it overnight and remain silent." (Kinda like the counting to 10 before blowing up. Wait before you act. Reaction would be wrong, but acting would be with thought, and the passage of time.)

For the sake of my conclusion, which I have not yet conceived, let us classify this verse as ACTION.

The Hebrew word that makes this work for us is the word for silent above. It is an action defined as "to be silent, be still, wait, be dumb, grow dumb."   Look, an action, a way of behaving.  Shut up, don't act angry or act on your anger, and shut up, shut up, and sleep.  - from "The Hebrew lexicon is Brown, Driver, Briggs, Gesenius Lexicon; this is keyed to the "Theological Word Book of the Old Testament." These files are considered public domain," and I accessed them, an the later Hebrew and Greek words at

Proverbs 14:29 (NLT) "People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness." (Ask questions, seek understand, be still and use the spirit to guide you: or, you get to look like a fool)

The key part of the translation here is "control their anger."  How to do that is the problem.  The Hebrew word that is translated here means, patient, slow to 'anger', or just slow.  So the action is the same as the previous verse.  Don't react right away.  Force yourself to NOT act.  Chill.  Smile.  Be happy. In karate, we  teach, Stop, Think, Act, Review or STAR.

Let us classify this verse as ACTION

John 11:33 (NLT) "When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled." (This was in response to people being upset at Lazarus' death - they showed a lack of faith in him; an example of righteous indignation. This if also the verse before the shortest verse in the Bible, "He wept."  Why would he have wept if he knew that he could raise Lazarus? Surely he was feeling their human pain, as he was human, and showed compassion by raising Lazarus. Yet, Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible suggests that in a passage with similar language in Mark 5:39, he was angered, in troubled, stirred up and restless, the meaning of the word anger in Greek used in John 11.

This is an example of what is often call Righteous Indignation.  I have been told that this type of anger is OK, because Jesus did it.  I, however, have discovered that I was made "righteous" by the blood of Christ, not by my own actions, and though I am right with God, and he is able to tolerate me because I have been cleaned of my sin, I am still not the Judge ... that would still be Jesus.  For me to Judge someone requires a process, and it is for my protection more than their condemnation. So, this verse teaches me that I should, as Jesus did, respond to provocation with "compassion," rather than wrath.

Let us classify this verse as ACTION

Galatians 5:19-21 (NLT) "When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God." (For outbursts of anger you will NOT inherit the kingdom of God)  -  Ouch.  Again I say Ouch.

Fortunately, Paul points out in Galatians 5:24 that this would indeed doom us if we are not justified by the Christ. He goes on to tell us  "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another," implying that walking in the spirit is an act of self discipline and living in the spirit is a result of Grace.

Let us classify this verse as ACTION.

There are many more verses that I found that teach the same lesson.  The best way to control rage and anger is to:

Relax, Think, show compassion, control my impulses, and remember that I have been washed of my sin by the grace of God, and I control my actions. I Must have ACTION to keep my anger in check.  If I fail to control my anger, I failed to act.


I have listed a few additional verses that I found that speak to ACTION while controlling my anger.

Ephesians 4:26 - 27: 'And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.'  Oddly, my wife's pastor, when we were married, used this very line to explain how we should treat each other.  Our love was so great and we were so young that we both brushed it off.  Now that our love has grown for over 30 years, I can honestly say that this may be the hardest thing in the world for me to do.  I shut up, so I don't cause strife, or I explode, to solve the strife, and end up going to bed way past anger.

The action I should take is to Stop, Think and Listen, because only I can prevent going to bed angry.

Ephesians 4:31(NLT): "Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior." This one keeps showing up with a sword and a club.  Many times in the growth and change our my wife's martial arts businesses, we have had "friends" steal from us, lie to us and continue to do so, all under the name and justification of Christ.  I have had countless discussions with our Sr. Pastor and other pastors; forgiven them in word in action, prayed and prayed about it.  But then one of the ghosts from the past does something that rings sour, and the anger, harsh words and evil behavior show up and gain a footing before I even know they are alive and doing damage in my life again.

What action does it suggest? Don't talk about it.  It is hard to have harsh words or slander if you are not talking.

Colossians 3:8 (NLT) : "But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language."  Just heard the fan get hit again.  Errrr .. where oh where is the good news.

What action could this suggest? Get ride of malicious behavior, slander and language.  Once again, stop talking and listen instead.  It is NOT about me.

1 Timothy 2:8 (NLT): "In every place of worship, I want men to pray with holy hands lifted up to God, free from anger and controversy." And this is AWESOME.  No wonder my week is wrecked if I don't go to church ...  I have heard is described as charging your spiritual battery, and it is nice to see a way out!!

This is very clear.  Go  to Church and Pray, Sing and focus on the Lord.  Oh.

Hebrews 11:27 (NLT): "It was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger. He kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible." Another solution, and one that until this very moment I have always HATED.  I would say, "how do you let go," when told to let go of the anger or the hurt.  I would think, "Get real, you are just fooling yourself into believing you have let go."

But now I see the answer.  Like most things in the Bible, the solution is not a feeling, and emotion, an intellectual understanding, but rather an action.  "He kept right on going ... "  Wow.  Now that I think of it, every time it has hit the fan, the way through was faith that it would work out, and a stubborn attitude toward walking with God.  Just do it, in other words, and know that you work for the Lord.

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