Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Angry at Change, Process, others? Part 4

Angry at Change, Process, others? Part 4

Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,
because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.  James 1:19-20

                Why do we hang on to anger? There are three main reasons. 1)
to protect ourselves from additional pain. We choose to be angry because it is easier to control than pain and disappointment. What we tell others by our anger is that we are hurt too much to care about you. We are expending all our energy on our self and there is nothing left to protect others from our failure to love them.
                2) Deflection When we have done wrong we become angry. Instead of accepting the responsibility for our actions, we get angry. We use our anger as a weapon against those who expose and shame us. We try to turn the tables on them to get the attention off ourselves.
                3) Distancing. Anger can also be an attempt to make sure that others don’t get close enough to discover our weakness. We keep others away from us.
                If we are angry towards others it is because we feel we have been threatened, hurt, belittled, shames or controlled. Anger directed toward ourselves will fuel suicidal behaviour that strips vitality from life. Both lead to devastation.
                But what do we do with our anger? 1) Repression. Many people repress their anger because it is a frightening emotion and we want to avoid it. This often leads to depression because it is easier to shut down and no longer engage with their world because they have discovered that all their efforts to make life work on their terms have failed. Some people  also pretend that all is well but reality is that they feel nothing at all- no pain or joy.
2) Shallow confession. This is often recognized as mishandling anger and being quick to confess that you were angry and it is wrong. Yet it is important to explore our anger and expose its roots.
3) Outbursts of anger. We all need to express our feelings but it must be done with the discernment and regard for others.
Are you feeling angry right now? What has caused this feeling to emerge? Was it something you did or did someone hurt or offend, physically harm you or upset you so much that you are searching for words of anger? What do you normally do with this anger? Repress it, deflect it or dismiss it? Which is the best way to handle this anger for you? We are called to control our anger. This does not say not to get angry but to control it so that there is not a volcanic eruption, tucking it away forever or even half confessing something that is normal. Anger is an emotion we experience—we need to deal with it and why it emerges in us.
God of love, you know what it is like to become angry. How often you must feel this when people who have loved you their whole lives turn away from you or hurt you through their actions and words rather than sharing of themselves in love. As you get angry too, we need to know how we might control the anger but not throw it out. Help us to face these angry filled fears. We ask this as we know that you will continue to love us through all of it. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

RESOURCE  “When Anger Burns: A Biblical View on Handling Anger” by Tim Jackson. Grand Rapids, MI: Our Daily Bread Ministries. (p.23-27)  We will conclude this series on anger next week!

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Angry at Change, Process, others? Part 3

Angry at Change, Process, others? Part 3
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
                                                                                                James 4:1-3
                What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t’ they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

                 There are different sources for our anger- both external and internal. External factors do affect us as we think we are reacting to external stimuli. We even reason that ‘if we hadn’t been treated so poorly, we wouldn’t have gotten angry.”  As individuals we essentially live for ourselves and so when asked we often live primarily for ourselves. Life is unfair and this also causes us to be angry. Life is also difficult as it is filled with thorns and thistles (John 16:33) but what we perceive to be external sources for our anger are really external.
                We often get angry when we do not get what we want when we want it. The desires within us fuel our conflicts especially when we want something that matters to us. God created us with the desire for love and respect and with a longing to be enjoyed and to know that we matter. All the lesser desires are linked to the core desires of love and relationship.
                We are also afraid which grows out of a lack of faith and confidence that God is really who he says he is. And when we think this we look to find a  god of our own making which we think we can control.  We also rebel against God and look to others to provide what only God can supply. We fear we don’t have what it takes to make it on our own. We need others to agree with our plans. But we fear they won’t cooperate and give us what we want.
                We also rebel against God and this forces us to demand that others fill in for him. Inevitably they will fail and so these unfulfilled demands give rise to anger.
                Asking God to meet our needs is one thing. But when our desires become demands we become arrogant rebels. The solution for anger then requires a growing confidence in the presence and promises of One we cannot see. Through the disappointments, losses, and frustrations of life we must learn that our well-being lies not in our demands but in his loving and capable hands.
When was the last time you became anger? Who was receiving that anger from you? Under what circumstance did that person fail to meet your desires or demands? How did you respond when they said no? What should you have done instead?  When we have disagreements or fights and quarrels have we always considered asking God first? Or are we asking God with the wrong motives so that we can get what we want? And if we do not receive what we want with whom are we really angry?
Wonderful God we need to come to you in prayer prior to our growing angry but we often pray after words are said in anger that we cannot take back. Help us O God to ask you first; seek your way; and enable us to show you who we are and what it is we need from you. Love us O God we ask even when we are angry at and with you. This we ask in faith and in hope in Jesus’ name. Amen.         
RESOURCE  “When Anger Burns: A Biblical View on Handling Anger” by Tim Jackson. Grand Rapids, MI: Our Daily Bread Ministries. (p.17-22)

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Angry at Change, Process, others? Part 1

Angry at Change, Process, others? Part 1
Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Exodus 22:24; 32:10-12
                Anger burns furiously hot in these passages from Exodus     
and it seems to consume others. But how are we to cope when we know that we will and do become angry? The Bible often paints a bitter image of anger yet God did get angry too! God’s anger was with his enemies or with his own people.
                Anger is neither: wrong or right until there is a motive. Anger can be productive and loving just as it can be destructive and selfish. We need to take time to discern our anger in order to see it for what it is. There are different kinds of anger. The first kind involves a person to do harm to himself or others and this is selfish. It is the kind of anger that destroys rather than buildings up. It is like a wrecking ball.
                 Genesis 4 tells the story of Cain and Abel. Both men brought sacrifices to God that reflected their occupations. But only Abel brought a sacrifice which pleased the Lord. Cain was very angry and his face was downcast. He became angry. God approached him and made it clear that he desired to accept him, but Cain had to come on God’s terms, not his own. God warned Cain telling him that if he did not do what is right, sin was crouching at him. Cain’s choice was difficult. He was hurt and angry because God would not accept his offering like his brother Abel’s. God gave him an opportunity to deal with his emotions. But Cain refused to do what God had asked and took matters into his own hands. Cain murders his brother and his heart is hardened. Instead of speaking to the one to whom he was angry, Cain killed his brother. God asked him where Abel was and he said “I don’t know.” God knows what happened to Abel and Cain was condemned. Cain paid for his anger because instead of humbling himself and accepting God’s direction and correction, he was rooted in self-centred efforts. His anger was to destroy.
                Have you ever been angry that you took it out on a wall or hit something in order to release the anger? What resulted because of this? Another person hurt, a wall damaged or relationship ended? How are we to control the anger that enrages us? How are we to calm ourselves down?
                It is important that you be angry and not bottle it up inside. But in order to alleviate and cool down, how do you cope with the anger within? Some people box—literally beating out the anger, others show their anger in their interpretation through arts and crafts. Others just play the piano or musical instrument in order to say it is ok from within. But you should deal with any anger promptly and then let it go.
What or who are you angry at or with? Why?  Are you able to fix this relationship? Do you want to? Often when there is anger it is not a good time to fight, but to do so means that emotions are out there and they are free to be heard and seen. But are you willing to listen and hear responses from others and not get angry again? Controlling our angry is a skill we learn over time. Sometimes it is confused with frustration but there is hope. This hope is in knowing that it is ok to get angry but it is better to figure out why, let it out and move on.  And sometimes God’s help, strength and guidance is required we just need to ask.

Holy God we praise you that we have emotions which include anger. This shows that we have the ability to think and reflect and to act on circumstances which we face. This also shows that we need you to guide us and lead us to something better as we strive to control our anger of self. Help us O God to be able to replace these moments of anger with hope and love. Amen.

RESOURCE  “When Anger Burns: A Biblical View on Handling Anger” by Tim Jackson. Grand Rapids, MI: Our Daily Bread Ministries .