Anger is like a toxic waste. Sooner or later it will come out. When anger is turned inward, emotional exhaustion manifested as depression is often the result.
Eph.4:26, 27 gives us some very valuable steps for dealing with anger. It states: “In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”
The first step in dealing with anger is to be honest and not deny your anger. People usually relate to anger in one of two ways. They are either intimidators or enablers. The intimidator uses anger to intimidate, while the enabler keeps it all inside until an internal explosion has taken place. Intimidators destroy other people with their anger, while enablers or internalizers destroy themselves and destroy other people by denying that anger exists when asked about it. Eph.4:26 says: “Be angry but do not sin.” In other words, you must be honest in admitting that you may be angry, but you may not have all the facts and, as a result, your anger may be on the wrong basis. That is why Jesus said that if we had anything against anyone, we must go to them, one-on-one, and sort out the facts.
The second step we are given in verse 26 is to not sin in our anger. We are not told never to get angry, nor are we told to feel guilty over our anger. Instead we are told to not sin when we are angry. . .
As we get older, disappointment after disappointment can pile upon each other until we become so disillusioned we are incapable of dreaming. As a result we start living in a hopeless rut called life. Such an existence has little or no expectations. Such a rut is actually a grave with both ends knocked out.
The reason we often lose our ability to dream is that somewhere along the line we have allowed our learning to be a result of the retaining of negative experiences or unmet expectations rather than a focusing upon the good and the positive.
Paul in Philippians 4:13 said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” This involves by God’s grace allowing the Holy Spirit to help us rediscover the idealism of youth and at the same time learn from our mistakes without being paralyzed by them. Jesus emphasized the need for a childlike faith that dared to believe in spite of the obstacles or disappointments.
How do we go on living in a world intoxicated by its lust for power without becoming disillusioned to the point where we no longer dream or have hope? God’s response to this world that is intoxicated by its lust for power, is…
This past week I was exploring downtown Alton with my grandson Ezekiel and my wife Debra when I saw a sign pointing me to the monument for Elijah Lovejoy. I have always admired this man’s courage and faith so I immediately proceeded to the cemetery where this monument was located. When I got there not only was I amazed at the size and beauty of the monument but the cemetery as a whole.
After returning to St. Louis I proceeded to further research the life of Elijah Lovejoy, who was born in 1802. My research revealed after graduating from college he started a private high school in St. Louis and regularly wrote articles for the St. Louis Times.
It was when a preacher named David Nelson came to St. Louis, that Elijah’s life was changed. He heard Nelson declare that slavery “is a sin against God, who is the rightful owner of all human beings and it is a sin against the slaves who should be free to answer to God.”
As Nelson continued to share how God’s heart was broken over people’s wrongdoing especially slavery, Elijah realized…
My heart is heavy because of the restlessness, the sad struggle that plays out before me every day. So many people are the victims of rootless poverty that seems endless. As I was preparing this sermon I met a man who said he had just been wandering around for days. He hasn’t slept because he just wants to get back home to Kansas City. He says he just needs enough money for a one way bus ticket. But as I listen it becomes clear that he came to this area homeless looking for work on craigslist and when it didn’t work out, he’s headed back to the same situation. He wants to go back to his fiancé who is giving birth right about now. And he’s just wandering around trying to scrape together whatever money he can get to be back in time for his baby’s birth. That’s his story.
There are so many more stories like this one. No real plan beyond, “Maybe I can find a job” or “I’ll make it somehow.” When I ask, “Who knows you?” I’m told, “Well, my fiancé has a cellphone without any minutes.” The travelers aid society we partner with needs verification. They don’t want to just move people around who don’t have contacts in the destination city. I recommend some other ideas to this man. Ways he can settle for a few weeks in order to rest, eat, find work, and then travel in time. He turns it down and walks out.
I walk over to our front desk and ask a group of men who are crowding the phone operator to have a seat and assure them that their requests will be answered in time. A young man yells out, “I just want a hygiene kit.” I answer him by name and say, “You’ll get it when we call your name.” With that he calls out a curse on the building and on my father by name and walks out. Just because he doesn’t want to wait five minutes. So much impatience and hostility. So much controversy and weariness. But it doesn’t have to be this way. As we set a course for our lives based on God’s word, we can learn to fear Him and walk in His ways.