anger

HELP FOR THE OFFENDED

unoffendable

 

I read books in heaps.

But it is not often that a book impacts me as strongly as the one I am recommending to you this month.

After a few pages, it was hard to concentrate on the book, because I was so excited about reading and recommending it.

Let’s get right to it.

Beg, buy, borrow (please don’t steal), “Unoffendable: How Just One Change Can Make All of Life Better” by Brant Hansen.

Here are some reasons you should make reading “Unoffendable” an immediate priority:

 1.  Being offended is a common occurrence. We are all regularly touched by offendable stuff, and we need help in maintaining a godly attitude.

 2.  Being offended has become a profession. There are people who appear to get offended as their main purpose in life.

 3.  Being offended is seen as a right. It’s not.

 4.  Christians polish their ‘offendability’ by telling themselves it is righteous anger. Brant does an excellent job clarifying what the Bible says in this area.

 5.  Brant writes well, with a sense of humor – which always helps. Unless that offends you.

 6.  Your life will be challenged in good ways, because you will be encouraged to live with a focus on serving Christ rather than your own sensibilities.

HOW TO HANDLE ANGER WHEN YOU HAVE BEEN HURT

Some time ago, someone in my church sent me an email describing how a dear friend had broken their relationship and was being hurtful toward them. The person who contacted me was not only hurt – they we now struggling with anger.

Since we are all mistreated by people and we will struggle with the hurt and the anger, I hope these thoughts will be a help to you. This I know for sure – God will is there right now to be all you need!

 

Thank you for sharing your hurt with me. God is pleased when we open up and share burdens with one another. One of the reasons He established His Church is so we can practice biblical community. It is good you have been willing to share your heart. 

It is also good that you recognize the anger struggling to find a foothold in you is something that needs to be drained out. Your conviction in this is not only an evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work in you. This is also evidence that your heart is responsive to God which is a wonderful reality about God in you!

Here are a few suggestions for overcoming your hurt and the struggle with anger that has come with it.

1)  Talk to God conversationally and in detail about the whole situation. He fully understands how you feel (think how many people reject and misuse Him every day). Talking openly with people is good – doing this with God is even better. Because He is a real person who loves you, He will care for you as you come to Him.

2)  Go to the gospel! This is where we are meant to find wisdom, grace, strength and comfort. Think about what God did through the gospel for you. Consider what Christ went through. Remind yourself what you now have through the cross. As we so often say at Greentree, “preach the gospel to yourself”.

3)  It may help to recognize that forgiving the person who hurt you doesn’t mean you haven’t been hurt or the situation doesn’t deserve anger. Forgiveness comes from knowing God has forgiven the entirety of our many sins against Him and others. We will always stand forgiven of far more from God than we are called to forgive in others as we see by Jesus story in Matthew 18:21-35.

4)  Put this person and your hurt in God’s hands. Only God can change them. Allow God to be your defender, He will do a better job than we ever could.

Since you continue to be treated in a hurtful way, this is a process you will probably need to repeat multiple times. Be encouraged by Jesus example in Matthew 26:36-44. When he was confronted by the impending burden of the cross, Jesus went to the Father three times, praying the same prayer for comfort and strength. If Jesus went to his Father as many times as he needed, so should we.

5)  In reality, your offender’s actions against you are actions against God. Knowing this helps us replace anger with compassion. This person is responding this way, because their heart is not filled with God. They have no understanding of His deep love for them or His lavish grace available to them. What is missing in this person’s life is not simply sad, it’s tragic.

6)  It will help to pray daily for this person’s salvation. This will help keep their sins against you in the context of their need for grace.

7)  Continue to share your struggle as needed with supportive believers (your small group if you are in one – I hope you are). They will be ministers of God comfort to you and they will pray for you too.

I am thankful for this opportunity to share with you. Know that I am already praying for you. More wonderful is that the Bible tells us the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ are both ever interceding on behalf of those who love God. I hope you will contact me whenever you feel it would be helpful

I am grateful to be your pastor!

 

SERMON LEFTOVERS 10.13.14

“God’s word is worthy of action”

James 1:19-27

James focuses on our speech, listening and anger

He does this out of concern for biblical community

How we listen, is a significant factor in the quality of our relationships

Think about how listening reflects God’s character

Becoming a better listener is one way to imitate God

Listening is a way of showing love for people

Listening is a way of choosing Christ’s agenda for people over our own

In contrast, anger is a significant factor in dividing biblical community

v20 anger produces effects which are opposite of righteousness

Does anger help us think better, listen clearly, show love or build relationships?

In v21 when James says “put away” worldly wickedness, he is not changing subjects

We avoid anger, by getting rid of the worldly behaviors that stimulate it

The world stimulates selfishness, lust, pride and coveting etc. (1 John 2:15-17)

We manage our anger, by managing what influences our heart

Living by God’s word, protects our heart from anger (v21)

God’s word gives us a better perspective about ourselves, life and other people

We are to receive God’s word with meekness

This means we surrender our agenda and submit to God’s will

Biblical meekness is not weakness; it takes strength through the Holy Spirit

God’s word is to be “implanted” in us

Implanting God’s word is to be shaped and guided by it

Do we implant God’s word in our family schedule and priorities?

James presents the big picture principle (vs 22-25)

We are to live out God’s word!

The word has been set before us: we read it and hear it preached

And God wants us to behave according to that word

What does it mean to be a Doer of the word”?

1.  A doer thinks about what the Bible says

James is not urging us to blind action, he is calling us to biblically informed action

2.  A doer measures their life against what the Bible says

We should compare how we live to what the Bible says

We sift our lives by God’s word and we “put away” the debris v21

3.  A doer submits to what the Bible says

We “receive” it, which means we say “yes” to it

Do we acknowledge that God’s word has authority over our life?

Do we try to debate the merits or relevance of God’s word?

4.  A doer takes action according to what the Bible says

Our life is to be conducted in response to God

5.  A doer does all that the Bible says 

Christ is our Lord!  We do not have the right to pick and choose our areas of obedience

Being a complete doer includes the attitude we have in our ‘doing’

If we think being a hearer is enough, we are “deceived”! (v22)

James compares it to looking in mirror without remembering what we see (vs 23-24)

What benefit is there to looking in a mirror, if we cannot remember what we see?

The reason our church emphasizes real commitment in church membership and participation in small groups, is to help us move beyond being mere hearers of sermons

If we settle for being a hearer we also defraud ourselves!

God’s Word is “perfect”! It protects and it blesses (v25)

God’s word is not arbitrary or abstract; it is the best wisdom available

Why will heaven be wonderful? Because the perfect law of God will rule all things

James returns to specific behaviors in vs 26-27

James doesn’t want us to walk away, saying “Amen” to his instructions without having a plan of action

So he reminds us that Christianity is real when it bears the fruit of Holiness and Love

Does God’s word call us to action that you know you have been ignoring?

Is the Holy Spirit pressing your heart about steps of obedience?

Be a doer of God’s word – your life will be blessed and fruitful

NEWLYWED WISDOM

On the day Debbie and I were married; friends went around our outdoor reception with one of those big old clunky video cameras and asked people to share their advice for the newlyweds. After our honeymoon we received the fun gift of that video tape.

There were many words which meant a lot to us, (and a few that were forgettable). However two comments stood out to us. Actually it was one comment shared by two different people. Those two individuals happened to be our mothers! Without knowing what the other had said, they both gave the same advice which was to quote Ephesians 4:26:

 “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger”

Over the years there have been many lessons in our marriage that have been slowly (by me) learned. But I can say that we have been faithful to keep the wisdom of Ephesians 4:26. That by itself has protected our marriage from lists of offenses or hurts taking root and becoming bitterness.

Debbie in her wisdom, has taken this counsel a step further and faithful shares the words “I love you” before we go to sleep. When I have been in sour moods, those words are almost magical in the immediate affect they have had on my heart. I am reminded that yes I do love her, and I have only good reason to act that way.

I hope you will follow the good counsel of our mothers AND God’s word.

SINFUL ANGER vs GODLY ANGER

 

The Biblical Counseling blog recently had an excellent short article by Brad Hambrick, that guides our understanding of anger in a very practical manner.  Click here to read the article