When I first came to church I was like the country song sung by John Conlee, “I’m just an old chunk of coal, but I’m gonna be a diamond some day.” When I first went to church I found a “CALM” that is hard to explain. Going to church really did “Restoreth My Soul.” The only problem is that the good effects were short lived; my impatience, anger, etc. would soon return before the next Sunday.
You must realize that when I first surrendered to go to church it was more like, “What the hell; I’ll go to church!” - You can probably see some room for improvement! At first I was just trying not to use the Lord’s name in vain. Time after time I would forget, blaspheme, ask God for forgiveness, promise I would never do it again, and immediately blaspheme again! This really was a vicious cycle. Slowly I did break the chain!
The other big thing was to Control My Anger! I was hurting the ones I loved and myself too much! Going to church would soothe my anger, but only for a day or two.
I was in the delivery business and traffic delays would really set me off!!! I could go into a rage over a red light. I would be angry if the car in front of me didn’t start to go the millisecond the light turned green. Red light/green light I wasn’t happy! But I was trying to control my anger. I kept repeating some bible verses to give me strength.
Only a fool gives full vent to his anger,
but a wise man keeps himself under control.
Anger is like a small burning ember that grows into raging inferno. Anger is like a forest fire; it destroys everything and everyone in its’ path. Anger can strike suddenly, for no reason, just like lightening. Even after the fire is put out, the forest still smolders and burns. The forest is still in pain. The forest becomes barren and void of all life. The forest feels empty, forgotten, abandoned, and alone.
Love and forgiveness are like the gentle rains of blessings sent down from heaven, sent down from Gods’ steadfast everlasting love. With a desperate prayer to God, giving up your control to His will, for His direction, and intervention your prayer will be answered, and to your bewilderment and amazement you receive something far greater than you ever imagined or dreamed of.
With steady gentle rains of prayers to fill your heart with love, forgiveness, compassion, and understanding and with the warmth of the sun from a new day of hope and faith the grasses begin to grow. Slowly the grasses thrive, and the trees grow. Life returns to the forest. Eventually all of the scars of the forest fire are all gone… all is forgiven.
I believe that anger is like a wild beast living right under your skin lurking, waiting for an opportunity to pounce. The headlines lately have been about the master illusionist Siegfried & Roy; when Roy was attacked and mauled onstage by a 380-pound Tiger, which was part of their show at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas.
You can never tame the tiger or anger, but you can keep it under control, under lock and key. You can become Slow to Anger.
Driving making deliveries was constantly tempting me to anger. Going to church helped, but the good effects didn’t make it through the week. I needed reinforcements! I found that while I was making deliveries I would sometimes make a detour by my church PHPC. Just driving by it and looking at it calmed me and made me feel better.
I looked for HELP and I found it everywhere! How? I have always appreciated architecture and I started to notice other churches and how pretty they were. This would actually calm my anger. Noticing other churches was a calming of the storm. (Hey- it worked!) Just looking at the church steeple made me “CALM” and feel better; I felt like the church steeple was God’s antennae broadcasting to me! Now I could drive across town and get a spiritual lift just by driving by and looking at the churches and the cross. I received much comfort looking at the cross.
Looking at the different churches I also realized that these churches were full of good congregations. It made me feel better to know that these good people were all around me.
One Sunday on my way to the 11 am worship at PHPC I got stuck in the church traffic at St. Monica’s Catholic Church. Their Morning Prayers were just letting out. I was at a complete stop. The worshippers were walking to their cars and leaving; it was a mini-traffic jam! I was surrounded by people walking on either side of me to their cars; Christians! I was stuck in a traffic jam surrounded by good people! I was stuck in traffic and it was a good feeling. Later when I would be stuck on the freeway, I realized that the good people, from these good congregations, from all of these good churches were also stuck on the same freeway! On the freeway I was not surrounded by jerks in my way, I was surrounded by good Christians.
I didn’t learn an anger management trick or technique for controlling anger. But an understanding that I was loved, forgiven, and that I was a part of the Body of Christ; that collectively we are all part of the Body of Christ. We are all one in Jesus Christ.
Anger taught me a life lesson in
“THE BODY OF CHRIST.”
“We are all one in Jesus Christ.”
Love lifted me, love lifted me
when nothing else could help,
love lifted me.
This is very cliché: I do not know a thing about ships or the ocean; just the troubled waters of my life. I come from a good line of ship builders. My grandparent’s generation lived through the Depression (Think of what the word “Depression” means today and what “Depression” meant in the 1930’s. Think of what they must have gone through). My parent’s generation lived through World War 2 (my father fought in WW2).
My grandparent’s and my parent’s ship were strong and weathered many storms. When my time came to be captain over the ship, I did a poor job as captain, a poor job as a husband, a poor job as a father, and today a poor job as a grandfather. My crew has mutinied and jumped overboard. The family is estranged and in turmoil.
I have navigated life’s stormy waters poorly. The ship or should I say my family has sunk to the bottom. The crew is divided and marooned on many solitary islands.
I am isolated in a lifeboat. A lifeboat called “Faith.” I am a speck in a huge ocean of dark, murky waters. My only hope of being Saved is in Jesus Christ. I pray desperately for my rescuer, my savior. I pray earnestly for the crew of the sunken ship. The crew is hopelessly lost. I pray that God will find them, and with His grace, He will gather them up, and bring them closer to His love.
I pray that God will bring this family and crew together to build a new ship called “Love & Forgiveness.” I pray that the ship can be salvaged and crew united and brought back together. I cannot imagine how this could ever actually happen. But everything is possible through Jesus Christ!
I am still in the lifeboat of “Faith.” I continue sending out my S.O.S. of a desperate prayer. I pray and wait for my only hope, for the Triune God to rescue and save me.
Because he who doubts
is like a wave of the sea,
blown and tossed by the wind.
Our capacity to make peace with another person
and with the world
depends very much on our capacity
to make peace with ourselves.
― Thich Nhat Hanh
1. the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.
Between stimulus and response, there is space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our resonse lies our growth and our freedom.
- Viktor Frankl
Stimulus+Patience=No Angry Words
Patience is a derivative of Love and Compassion.
Patience is that split-second "Deep Breath" between what ever was the stimulus, aggravation, or anger... and your Reaction.
Patience isn't always easy that’s why it must be practiced.
Bible Basics... Layers of Understanding