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Tuesday Tidings May 28, 2024

Dearest Members of Bethlehem,


“A fool gives full vent to anger, but the wise quietly holds it back.” - Proverbs 28:11


First, before I write another word, I am not referring to anyone as a “fool.”  Jesus is pretty clear about this one, “…and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire.”  So, I will most certainly steer clear of that in the coming lines.


What I really want to talk about is anger.  Anger is mentioned a fair amount in the scriptures, and when it is, it usually comes with a kind of warning.


So, let’s clear the air, anger isn’t going anywhere.  Anger is a serious emotion, but like fear, it can serve a purpose.  When we feel anger building within us, this anger might be directed at wrongdoing, injustice, it might be a sound indicator that we are being mistreated or disrespected.  In those cases, some level of anger and frustration might be justified.


Now, the troubles come when anger shifts from being the emotion that inspires discernment to the emotion that results in reckless and irresponsible behavior.


You’ll note the distinctive language in that verse from Proverbs that appears above.  The person whose wisdom is brought into question is not the person who is angry, it is the person who “gives full vent to anger.” 


I must admit that I have seen folks in “full vent” mode and it’s just not good.  Even more humbling, I have spoken with some folks after they’ve recovered from “full vent” mode and in all of those cases, they were not feeling justified, they were feeling convicted… wondering how to best to craft the apologies and restore the relationships that had been compromised by their inordinate expression of anger.


Controlling our tempers is quite frequently easier said than done, but it does seem as if controlling our tempers is still a distinctly Christian virtue.  I won’t pretend to have any fix all tips and tricks to keep our emotions on track, but I will say that self-awareness is key.


If you’re stressed, tired, grumpy, hungry or thirsty… be cautious about entering into contentious situations, set yourself up for success, to be the most patient, most constructive you, you can be.


If you’re in the right state of mind, if you have at least some self-awareness you’ll likely be able to tell when the emotional temperature is rising.  When you feel that slow build coming on, you might have the presence of mind to consider this little bit of proverbs, and then ask yourself this all-important question, “How can I honor my feelings and still come out on the other side of this situation looking more wise than I do foolish?”


Start to strategize a bit, and by the time those plans start taking shape in your heart and mind, and the worst of the storm might have already passed.


Question for reflection: What is it that really “pushes your buttons?”  Why so?  Is there a creative way to faithfully regain control of your emotions in those types of situations/circumstances? 


Yours in Christ,

Pastor Dan


God of mercy, there are so many that are hungry, so many in need, so many battling illness, so much heartache, worry, and grief… and so, it becomes so easy to believe that our efforts have little effect, that they might not matter, but of course we know that they do.  By your grace, every act of kindness done in the Spirit of Christ reshapes the word in which we live.  Remind us of our ongoing power to make a difference.  We pray this in the name of our risen Lord Jesus Christ, amen.


*Please note, there will be no “Tidings” next Tuesday, regular installments will begin again on the 11th of June, thank you for your patience!

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