Dear Pastors, Missionaries, Chaplains and friends,
Steve here… Wouldn’t it be wonderful to live in a world where chocolate had no calories, or procrastination was a virtue? Or your teens loved to clean their room? Or men experienced the labour of child-birth, at least once? Wouldn’t it be great to live in a perfect world? The problem with this idea is that, quite frankly, one person’s dream world may be another’s nightmare.
We don’t live in a perfect world, and so we get frustrated, disappointed, and angry. Ministry and church life is full of these things. The Bible tells us in Proverbs 14:29(NIV), “A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly.” It’s wise to be patient when dealing with imperfect people. The New Living Translation renders the same verse this way: “Those who control their anger have great understanding; those with a hasty temper will make mistakes.”
I guess patience is really all about being slow to anger.
Legendary baseball manager Billy Martin was famous for his short temper. He tells the story of accompanying Mickey Mantle to the ranch of one of Mickey’s friends. He told Billy to stay in the car while he went to gain permission to go hunting on his friend’s ranch. Mantle’s friend said yes, but asked a favour. He had a mule in the barn who was old and blind; would Mickey mind shooting it for him? He didn’t have the heart to do it. Mickey came back to the car pretending to be angry. Slamming the car door, he told Billy his friend said no. Mantle then declared he was going to his friend’s barn to kill his mule. Billy watched Mickey stomp off to the barn with his rifle. Mickey aimed at the mule and fired, and immediately heard two other gun blasts. He turned around to find a furious red-faced Billy Martin yelling, “We’ll show that friend of yours—I just killed two of his cows!”
Anger can be contagious, infectious, and almost always destructive. Learning patience is the key. If anger is a learned response, than we can unlearn it. I can learn to be patient. Patience is the antidote to anger.
When it comes to anger, I can repress it (stuff it down), supress it (ignore it), express it (outbursts) or confess it.
Admit you’re angry to God, to yourself, and to a trusted confidant. Confession is the antiviral that prevents anger from poisoning our souls. It’s not the best option, it’s the only option.
Have a blessed week,
Our 2014 Fellowship theme verse is:
“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13 :35 (NLT)