Anger, Pastoring, Sermons, Spirituality

Step 6: Allow Anger to go on a Murderous Rampage.

Anger never dies alone.

It always takes something with it when it goes down.

Like your porn addiction.

What was once arousing is now troubling and degrading when anger isn’t shaping what you see. Your inner being is no longer compatible with aggression or objectification. You can’t accept the twisted vocabulary which porn requires you to agree with. There are no more whores or sluts, only sisters and brothers made in the image of God.

Like your selfishness. 

It becomes a whole lot easier to give other the best of yourself when you are not living in a land where you are angry all the time because you don’t have enough. Those closest to you will learn to breath again as you begin to contribute to the atmosphere instead of suck the air out of rooms.

Like your negativity. 

Without anger fueling a sense of entitlement or scarcity you no longer have to force yourself to be a positive person. Again, you aren’t trying to be positive, it is just that without anger in your life the glass actually appears half full and you describe it as you see it.

Like your drinking. 

You abuse alcohol to help you forget the angry person you are, and the things that angry person has done. People who like themselves and their lives don’t have anything to escape from.

Like your fear. 

Your anger wasn’t an emotion. It was a tinted lens which made the world look like a dangerous place. Angry people are always scared. They project themselves on the world around them. They are no more safe with anyone than they are with themselves. The world is as angry as they are – no wonder they are scared.

Rejoice.

Anger is going to go on a murderous rampage before it goes.

But there are not going to be any innocent victims.

Anger, Leadership, Parenting, Pastoring, Sermons

6 Infuriating Steps For Defeating Anger.

I was angry, but now I’m not.

When I share my story of victory over anger, people are always curious to hear how it happened.

Actually, “curious” is the wrong word, “desperate” is more accurate.

Accurate because people know anger is about to cost them the most precious things in their lives and they are desperate to avoid loss. Or, they realize they will never get those precious things only available to people who are not ticking time bombs or quietly grinding their teeth 24/7.

Desperation is appropriate. Anger needs to go, and it needs to go soon, because you only get so many chances before it costs you everything.

Fourteen years ago, I remember being absolutely livid because Tamara was taking a long time getting out to the car with our 4 month old baby. I was honking the horn, huffing and puffing so much the windows were fogging up. When they did get settled in the car I slammed it into reverse and shot out of the driveway at warp speed – right over the snowbank on the other side of the road. I swore, shot her a dirty look, and said “See what you did?”

The rest of the Sunday morning drive to church was relatively uneventful.

The insanity continued for 5 more years. Then, Tamara gave an ultimatum. I needed to stop being angry or I would lose some very precious things. I could tell she meant it and that was the day I got desperate enough to get serious about anger.

I was serious about beating anger, but didn’t know how. Now I do and I want to share it with you. So, I’ve taken my story and re-worked it here into 6 steps for removing anger from your life.

Because it doesn’t have to be ruining your life.

Listen, I know what life is like when the next five minutes are going to be dangerous because of what is welling up inside of you.

I know how it feels to ruin a weekend getaway with one angry word.

I know how it feels to be really tired of making people you love cry.

I know how it feels to see the person in front of you shrink way from you.

I know how it feels to embarrass yourself in public.

I know how it feels to be incapable of enjoying what you have because anger numbs every one of your senses.

Thank God, I also know how it feels when none of that happens anymore.

And you can too.

Come back next week for Step 1.

Sermons

Empathy and Victory – SCARS

No suffering human being is helped by someone telling him that he has the same problems.

Open wounds stink and do not heal. 

Both of the above are from Henri Nouwen. They summarize the current sermon series we are in at PAC – although we haven’t used those exact words since I only found them today.

As we work our way through the bible imagining different wounded characters meeting with Jesus and being healed by his scars we’ve been saying things like:

Festering wounds don’t have the potential to heal others. Scars do. 

Sharing wounds allows for empathy. Sharing scars allows for empathy and victory.

We started with Adam’s shame (and my own). Then moved on to Cain’s jealousy. And now in week #3, we are getting ready to look at Jacob…..I’m having an interesting time with Jacob.

On the one hand, he is easy because we have way more material about Jacob to work with and a variety of potential wounds emerging. Deceit, control, fraud, worry, compromise, bargaining, and the lack of trust in God which underlies it all. And of course, there are various stages of redemption and grace to comment on as it all unfolds.

On the other hand, it’s a tough story to do justice to because the most decisive healing moment for him is during a divine encounter where he is dealt another wound.

Doesn’t tie up as neatly as I

 

Sermons

Beauty will save the world.

The things in our lives which are “off” are because we are not enough like God yet. The human project from a Christian perspective is to renew, restore, and even propel human beings into the mold they fit best – the image of God. To become like God you need to, in some sense, feed on him. That is, to take into ourselves the things God is and have these nourish us in ways which transform us further into His likeness.

You are what you eat.

Over the years, more philosophically minded Christians have identified three key “courses” for nourishment – truth, goodness, and beauty – which balance your diet.

For the most part, in my church, we offer a pretty good diet during a Sunday service. Most sermons you’d hear would focus on understanding truth – renewing our minds. You’d also consistently be challenged to be good. To change behaviour, your speech and actions, in such a way  your reflexes eventually change. Your heart becoming an instrument tuned to the key of right living and possessing the ability to receive the joy which comes from that.

So, while the sheep are fed pretty healthy doses of truth and goodness at Prairie Alliance Church it’s a little harder to find beauty. Not that anyone is looking. Most evangelicals are suspicious of beauty. When beauty is served it is seen as frivolous, temporal, distracting, or excessive.  It often doesn’t go down easy and sometimes it is just left untouched on the plate.

But we need to get over this suspicion (and here I am not just talking PAC but the broader evangelical church) because it causes us to refuse one of the three key “ingredients” which help us become like God and so fully human. It’s not math, and it isn’t a beautiful way of saying it, but for the sake of clarity let’s imagine if beauty was part of our diet we could be ⅓ more effective at becoming like Christ. That’s a high percentage to leave behind – nourishment wise.

Our reasons for being suspicious of beauty are based on misunderstandings. These are easily cleared up once brought into the light. Then, we can feast at every dish on the table in front of us. Having not only our minds (truth) and heart (goodness) nourished but allowing our souls to be fed by beauty.

This Sunday at PAC, I’ll be picking up what I started in the first part of this post as I begin where Micah Smith left off during Part 1 of the sermon series “Skin Deep”. If you are in the Portage or Neepawa area it would be great to have you here in person. If you are far away, feel free to watch Part 1 at either www.mypac.tv or on YouTube. Part 2 will be in those same places by Sunday evening.

*(The title of this post is a quote from Dostoevsky)