I've learned some things in my 28+ years of being a pastor (40+ years of being a husband, 36+ years of being a dad). I can assure you that the process of learning never stops. I'm sure you agree.
Number 3: Let me just give you a scripture. Proverbs 15:1 and often used by Living Hope Church founding pastor Jim Erickson: "A soft answer turns away anger". Do you believe that (live that)? We live in an angry world. The volume of anger has really been turned up, so to speak, in our society. Unchecked anger, undealt-with anger -- the Bible is so clear about how destructive that is.
Frederick Buechner, in a writing called "Wishful Thinking" said this: "Of the seven deadly sins, anger is possibly the most fun and the most tasty. To smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you were given and the pain you are giving back, in many ways is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself; the skeleton at the feast is you."
Wow! Pretty powerful words. Undealt-with anger and bitterness (close cousins) will eat us up from the inside out. It will eat away at our spirit and our soul. A soft answer, a Godly answer turns away anger. Do I always practice it? No. Do I know it to be true? Yes.
James 1:19 says this: "Everyone (except me, of course) must be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry because our anger does not achieve God's righteous purpose."
What an awesome scripture. If you want to get mad at someone, get mad at the devil and his devices and ask God to give you the strength and courage to do things His way. Listen, friends. There is no time in God's Kingdom work for any of us to let the past control us -- to let unchecked and undealt-with anger and bitterness hurt us and those around us, because it does.
Up North Wisdom says anger and bitterness can be passed down through families and relationships. Don't let that happen. Start a new cycle with the help of the Holy Spirit to implement the truth of "a soft answer turns away anger." Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God." One of the marks of a child of God is one who makes peace and brings peace into life's circumstances by their very presence. With God's help, let the spirit of peace rule and reign in your heart and life. Blessings!
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