It becomes a cycle. The fisting of walls, yelling at people, kicking the dog, does nothing for anger management. In fact, it does the very opposite. Next time the cycle will come sooner, and even more rage will be expressed. It becomes worse and happens repeatedly. They do damage to those who love them and make themselves an increasingly raging fool.
By Pastor Delbert Young
Adventure In Anger Management 2
Adventure In Anger Management 2
Proverbs 29:11, Ephesians 4:26-27, Proverbs 19:19, Proverbs 29:22, Proverbs 16:32, Proverbs 15:1
We are talking about PROVERBS: An Adventure in Wisdom. As we are seeing, the Book of Proverbs is easily understood when realizing the results of the issues of life are a result of the pursuit of Lady Wisdom or being made a fool by the seduction of the Whore Folly. Last time we looked at part 1 of Anger Management. This week, we look at part 2. Let’s do a quick recap of a few things discussed last week.
Proverbs 29:11 A FOOL gives FULL VENT TO HIS ANGER, but a WISE MAN keeps himself UNDER CONTROL.
Last time, most of us admitted we, at some point in time, allowed the Whore Folly to seduce us and make a fool of us by our venting anger – losing it, losing control. Lady Wisdom said keep your anger under control. Do anger management, but we didn’t listen.
We don’t say today, “I vented my anger.” We say, “I was mad!” I shared with you how “mad” is like a mad rabid dog (Old Yeller) foaming hateful words, snarling, acting crazy, growling, and biting any and every one. When this happens, we are venting, and anger moved to sin.
Ephesians 4:26-27 BE YE ANGRY, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.
(NLT) Ephesians 4:26-27 And “don’t sin BY LETTING ANGER GAIN CONTROL OVER YOU.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a mighty foothold to the Devil.
The Bible actually encourages us to be angry. This is different. Frequently, we think anger is entirely wrong, but no, the scriptures repeatedly mention how God expressed anger. We are told Jesus was angry on occasions, so managed anger and anger management is not sin, wrong, or ungodly. God’s anger is righteous anger meaning anger causing right things to happen. Some of the best decisions you or I have made in life came because something angered us so badly we said, “That’s it! I’m done with this.” I relayed the day over thirty years ago while writing checks to pay bills I became so angry. I slammed my fist on my desk and declared, “That’s it! I am getting out of debt.” Within two years, we were. People get so angry at an addiction they say, “That’s it! Enough! This thing will not rule me ever again.” Anger management will always move us forward, not backward. Anger management will bring what is right (righteous).
The bottom line is, do we do anger management or do we allow anger to become madness/sin and manage us, allowing the devil to take control? Wisdom says if you want a life that works, you must do anger management. The Whore Folly says let your anger fully vent and make a fool of you.
We looked at how people handle anger. There are two categories in the continuum: (1) bottle it up, or (2) spew it out. We each know which we do and people around us know which we do.
The “bottler” responds to the let downs and aggravations of life by denying to others and themselves they are actually mad. They shove their madness into the closets of their consciousness pushing it down. They pretend to hydroplane above anger. Because they are uncomfortable with what’s happening, they pretend it doesn’t exist. However, turning anger inward and burying it is like burying toxic waste and pretending it’s gone. Years later, we find the toxic waste leaked, seeped into, and contaminated everyone’s drinking water. Because it was buried, serious illness is everywhere and bottled up anger always leaks. You are no exception. One day, the bottler will physically and mentally pay the price. It will bring headaches, stomach problems, sleep disorders, and all kind of physical and mental challenges. You develop attitude problems being irritable, short tempered, cynical, etc. You ask a bottler, “What’s wrong?” They respond, “Nothing,” yet all the time they are saying, “I’m not angry,” underground anger is affecting the water table of their life. Bottling anger is a highly dangerous solution to handling anger.
The rest of us tend to spew anger. We let it fly. We vent. Spewers curse people, they curse God, and they slam doors and kick little dogs. They vomit madness all over everyone. They don’t care who sees or hears them. In fact, at the moment, they want people to know just how mad they are. When it’s all done, they don’t take the time to figure out the actual root reason of what they just did. No repentance means they go back through the cycle again and again.
Proverbs 19:19 A hot-tempered man must pay the penalty; if you rescue him, YOU WILL HAVE TO DO IT AGAIN.
It becomes a cycle. The fisting of walls, yelling at people, kicking the dog, does nothing for anger management anger. In fact, it does the very opposite. Next time the cycle will come sooner, and even more rage will be expressed. It becomes worse and happens repeatedly. They damage those who love them and make themselves an increasingly raging fool.
So, if bottling and pushing it down doesn’t work and spewing it doesn’t work, what do we do with anger when anger invades our lives? Wisdom says anger management it righteously. We express anger constructively to bring something right from it.
Probably, the best way to communicate what I mean is to walk you through a real life experience I had several years ago. Some of you have heard this story, but it works here, so indulge me. I enjoy fishing. It’s what I do to unwind. A few years ago, I was fishing in Tennessee for Striped Bass with someone from church. We were fishing close to the generators when a boat running about half throttle purposefully making a huge wake ran about two feet off my port stern. Water rocked and washed into my boat. I handled it pretty well. The person driving the boat was a guide, and I was going to give him his space to make his living, but then he begins bumping against my boat attempting to push us out. Again, I handled it pretty well. I’m thinking, I’m a pastor, and I need to be a good example here to my parishioner, and I was… this day. A few days later, I’m back fishing but this time alone. The same guy does the same thing, but I didn’t handle it well at all. He had three people in the boat with him, and when he waked me, I yelled something exclaiming his intelligence. What I said was unbecoming a man of God. My temper went hot and…
Proverbs 29:22 A hot-tempered person starts fights and gets into all kinds of sin.
He retaliated, and there we were drifting down the river about twenty feet apart screaming at each other. I was giving him a Bible study he was not to forget. I told him it was the second time he did this and if he did it again, there would be consequences. He replied something as if he would do it again if I was in his way and we would see what consequences I meant. Of course, he was using many adjectives, adverbs, and verbs I can’t repeat. I wanted to but was out of practice. Eventually, he took off down the river with his trip, and I went back fishing, but I knew I would meet him again and it would only be worse next time.
Let’s step out of my story and analyze. Let’s see where we get in the heat of madness. Somewhere in those minutes, I realized and said to myself, “I am mad. I have crossed the line from anger to madness. I have lost control of myself. If I’m not careful, I’m going to do something crazy.” Here’s the first thing we all need to realize. There is a point in a challenging and frustrating experience when we realize we are losing it. We know our buttons are pushed, fuse lit, and our chain yanked. We all have ANGER INDICATORS. Mine is a surge of adrenaline making me want to lash out. I’m 5’10 and 180, but when mad, I act as if I’m 7 feet 250. I lose proportions not only to my size but the importance of the situation. Your madness indicator may be clenching your fists, pulse rate increasing, shaking, whelps or rash, etc. Whatever it is, the earlier on you recognize it and allow the warning to move you away from doing something foolish the better off you will be. You need to be able to admit, “Danger! Danger!” You need to know yourself well enough to say, “I’m losing control. I’m giving the devil power, and he will kill me if he can.” Recognizing we are losing it is the beginning of anger management. I recognized my indicator but still had to make my point. I didn’t do well this day, and I am not proud of how I acted, what I did, or what I said. I am a wise man, but this day I became a fool.
For the remainder of the day and next several days and nights, I relived the event in my head. I would close my eyes at night and roll it all out again. I would clench my fists and grit my teeth. It’s got to me badly. Finally, I remember thinking, “This is not the way I should feel. Lord, help me get this out of my head.”
Let’s take another break from the story. The second necessity of anger management is asking the Lord to help. I don’t know if anyone in full battle mode can control anger especially when it has escalated to madness without the Lord’s help.
Back to the story, I knew I would see him again. Sure enough, the very next time I had the opportunity to go fishing, as always, I checked the TVA generator schedules to see which dams would be generating. Of all the dams in our area, only one was running. I knew my guy would be there. I knew the chances of our going at it again were high. Nonetheless, I was there early. He wasn’t. I filled my live wells with bait and began catching fish. I looked up, and here he came. The adrenalin rush happened, and I thought. “Here we go.”
Step out of the story again. I recognized the rush early this time and knew I only had a few minutes to decide just how much of a jerk I was going to be. God was giving me a “do over.” He always does. There are always “do overs” with anger. You will get another opportunity to manage your anger or to sin. We CAN make choices about what we will do with our anger. I didn’t do well the first time. How would I do this time? Would I bottle it and stuff it down? Would I spew it out and damage everyone, myself included? Or would I manage it, be godly, and make something righteous happen. Here is what I want us to see.
Proverbs 16:32 He that is SLOW TO ANGER is BETTER THAN the mighty; and he that RULETH HIS SPIRIT than he that taketh a city.
We have a choice to make. Do we want to be BETTER THAN, or lesser than? WE DO NOT HAVE TO SIN WITH OUR ANGER. We can run through options. We can scroll through scriptures. We can quickly pray and ask God to help us in this situation. We can make wise choices bringing honor to God and building our own character, but we don’t have to allow anger to become madness and sin.
I’m not going to pretend I became all spiritual. I didn’t. I was still upset. Just looking at him made me grit my teeth, but I knew unless I somehow became BETTER THAN, it could get ugly fast. I kept fishing, watching him as he attempted to catch bait. He was unsuccessful. He threw and threw his cast net, but could not find bait. “Ha, ha,” I thought. I knew he was aware I was watching him. I was catching one fish after another while he and those on his guide trip watched me. “This is what you get for messing with me. I’m a man of God for God sake. You can’t talk to me and treat me like you did and God not get you.” It was in my self-righteous Pharisee moment the Spirit of God spoke to me saying, “Give him some of your bait.” I said, “I rebuke you devil in the name of Jesus.” I reasoned the voice could not be God but knew it was. I pushed the impression down and kept fishing, but you know how it works. God won’t leave you alone especially after you ask him to help. The Spirit said, “Listen, if you want to keep poisonous feelings of anger, hate, losing sleep, etc. then don’t give him bait. You don’t have to. You can act like nothing’s going on, but if you actually want to deal with it like you said, give him some bait.” I thought, “Lord, what if he begins cussing me again?” The Spirit said, “Just do what is right.” I will never forget my taking a deep breath, pushing my throttle into gear, easing toward him, and the look on his face when he saw me coming. He thought I was about to re-challenge him. He got ready for an argument and fight. When close enough I said, “Can I give you some bait?”
Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
I had pursued Lady Wisdom. Wisdom says when things are at the boiling point gentle words cool things down. What if I had said, “So Bozo, can’t you catch any bait? That’s what you get for messing with me. I’ve got lots of bait, and I’ll let them die before I give any to you.” What would have happened?
My gentle word brought another never forget moment. It was the look of shock on his face. As if to say, “Did I hear you correctly?” Once he determined he had, he looked at me with the most sincere look you can imagine, nodded yes, and said matching my tone, “Thank you.” People will match your tone be it hot or cool. I netted him up most of my bait from my live wells and gave them to him. He looked me in my eyes and again said, “Thank you.” He didn’t say it, but in his “thank you” was an “I’m sorry about last time.” The innocent men in his boat just wanting to go fishing thanked me too. I told him and them they were welcome.
Step out again. If there is a way to give a gentle answer, do it. You will not want to. You would rather jump off a cliff, but if you can find a gentle answer to give, you not only manage your anger but help the other person(s) manage their anger.
As I eased my throttle into reverse, a third “never forget” happened. It was the amazing feeling inside washing away hate and anger and knowing I had made my God proud of me. Shucks, I was proud of me. I had improved my character. Actually, I really did give him a Bible study he would never forget. They began fishing and never came close to me. Now, when he sees me, he waves, and there have been no more incidences.
In anger, there are two parallel tracks running at the same time. One track is, “I want someone to pay. Someone has upset me, and I want them to know I will not tolerate it.” This track leads to madness and sin. On the other track is the whisper of God saying, “Turn the other cheek” and instructing exactly what to do. “Just do what is right. I’ll help you.” It’s not easy, but it’s right, and if you take this track, you never regret the results. You close your eyes at night, and instead of grinding your teeth and clenching your fists, you smile. You roll out a godly video. There is a peace passing understanding. It’s up to us which track we take.
Today, I thank God for the whole encounter. I learned a lot about myself. I learned after thirty years of serving God, leading a church, and telling people how to handle situations every Sunday, I can still lose it as fast and as badly as anyone. I learned how the poisons of those madness experiences make me hate and cause all sorts of awful toxic stuff inside me. I learned about my depravity, but I also learned the Holy Spirit would work on me during it. My heart is still soft to God’s whispers. I learned even in tense situations, if I will simply listen for the Holy Spirit, he will bend things around and make all things work together for my good. I learned I love the feeling of the Spirit washing toxins from my soul. I’ve never sinned with my anger and enjoyed it even if I got my way. However, every time I’ve managed my anger for righteousness, I’ve smiled and said, “I really am a man of God.” Every situation of anger you encounter is actually a test of your character. Which track will you take? Will you sin, give place to the devil allowing the Whore Folly to seduce and make a fool of you? Alternatively, will you manage your anger by pursuing Lady Wisdom and be wise as you honor God?
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