What To Do When You’re Burning Mad

Angry“Speak when you are angry, and you will make the best speech you’ll ever regret.” ―Laurence J. Peter

Of course we all get angry. If we let it out we might burn up the people around us, but if we hold it in we might blow up inside. What are we to do when we’re burning mad?

Nehemiah was in the midst of a massive building program, with enemies of Israel threatening to attack at any moment, and then people start coming to him with reports of the ungodly lifestyle among some of Israel’s leading families.

To say Nehemiah was hot is an understatement (Nehemiah 5:6). The Hebrew word means boiling mad, scorching hot! We would do very well to notice how he handled this situation.

First, “I pondered these accusations in my mind…” (v. 7a). He didn’t fire off the first thoughts that came to mind.

Second, “…then I accused the nobles and officials. I told them, ‘You are loan-sharking your own countrymen’” (v. 7b). He made a very specific point without elaborating on all the gory details.

Third, he gave them an opportunity to respond (v. 8).

Fourth, he called them all together and said, “What you’re doing isn’t right. You are not following God’s ways, and you are giving God a bad reputation to those outside our community” (v. 9).

Fifth, he used his personal lifestyle as an example (v. 10).

Finally, he asked them to change their behavior (v. 11).

Pretty simple:

  • Wait
  • Think
  • Make the accusation simple
  • Give them a chance to respond
  • Hold them to a high standard
  • Live out the standard yourself
  • Ask for a change of behavior

The next time you’re burning mad, try this and see what happens.

Harsh Words

Keep it closedThis is an interesting exchange between God and His people―

God says, “You have said harsh things[*] against Me.” 

“What have we said against You,” the people asked. 

“You have said, ‘It is futile to serve God…’” (Malachi 3:13-14).

We think we know better than God.

We tell God how we think it should be.

We complain that God is letting some people get away with bad stuff, and He’s not rewarding quickly enough those who are doing good stuff.

We think God doesn’t care if we do things our own way.

We think we can better manage our lives than He can.

We act like we’re in charge.

This is speaking harsh, arrogant, rude, terrible words against God. It’s really saying, “I know better, so I should be God.” This not only removes God’s blessing, but invites His punishment.

Ouch! It’s good to examine our thoughts and words to make sure we aren’t thinking or speaking harsh things against God.

[*] Some other translations say things like “You have spoken arrogantly against Me” and “You have said terrible things about Me” and “You have spoken rude words to Me.”

Links & Quotes

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“You may claim to love Jesus but your life proves you are still walking in darkness—confused, befuddled and foggy! When you are truly in love with Jesus, conversing with Him, He turns up the light. There is no darkness at all in His presence. The worst possible darkness to mankind is not in the hearts of God-hating Communist leaders or Christ-hating atheists. It is, rather, the horrible darkness that blinds so-called Christians who refuse to walk in the light.” —David Wilkerson

“It is not your business to succeed (no one can be sure of that) but to do right: when you have done so, the rest lies with God.” ―C.S. Lewis

“O how quickly we are given to defending God, or sometimes the truth, from words that are only for the wind. If we had discernment, we could tell the difference between the words with roots and the words blowing in the wind. There are words with roots in deep error and deep evil. But not all grey words get their color from a black heart. Some are colored mainly by the pain, the despair. What you hear is not the deepest thing within. There is something real within where they come from. But it is temporary—like a passing infection—real, painful, but not the true person. Let us learn to discern whether the words spoken against us or against God or against the truth are merely for the wind—spoken not from the soul, but from the sore. If they are for the wind, let us wait in silence and not reprove. Restoring the soul, not reproving the sore, is the aim of our love.” —John Piper

“What must you do so that you may know that your sins are taken away by the blood of Christ, and that, when He comes, He will shield you from the wrath of God and bring me into eternal life? The answer is this: trust Christ in a way that makes you eager for Him to come.” —John Piper

John Stonestreet has a great take on worldviews in Radical Islam, Secularism & Christianity.

“O beloved, what a defense is God to His church! Ah, the devil cannot cross this broad river of God. Between me and you, O fiend of hell, is my God. Do remember this, Christian; between you and your arch-enemy is your God; satan has to stand on the other side, and how he wishes he could dry up that stream, but God is omnipotent.” —Charles Spurgeon

 

Don’t Misuse God’s Name

Representing God's nameYou’ve heard the old nursery rhyme: Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. We all know this isn’t true: words do hurt, and names that people call us may leave lasting wounds.

Words and names are important to God. God used His word to create the universe (God said, “Let there by light”); Jesus was called The Word (see John 1:1); God has named people and even renamed them to reflect their character or destiny.

The most important name of all is God’s own name, so the Third Commandment says, “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God…” (Exodus 20:7). How can we misuse God’s name? There are five ways—

(1) As emptiness or nothingness

  • Are our words empty? Do we use filler phrases like “Oh my God!” that neither talk to Jehovah or about Jehovah? We shouldn’t use God’s name unless we’re talking to Him or about Him in a respectful way.

(2) In vanity

  • In reality this means calling ourselves a Christian, but speaking in an un-Christlike way.
  • “Giving God a ‘bad name’ might diminish or demolish people’s belief, respect, and awe for God, a tragedy for a world that needs holiness. … It is a major responsibility to represent God; one which should not be taken lightly.” —Dr. Laura Schlessinger

(3) Being insincere

  • Are our promises empty, or is our word our bond? If we have to use phrases like “I swear to God that I will…” then that means we cannot be trusted on our own merits. When we claim to be Christians but cannot be trusted, we undermine the trustworthiness of God in the minds of other people.
  • “The godly man, therefore, will make promises cautiously but keep them conscientiously once they are made, knowing that irresponsibility and unreliability here are great and grievous sins.” —J.I. Packer

(4) Having an unholy vocabulary

  • Holy means something set apart for a special use. Perhaps there are words we use to describe God that we are also using for lesser things. It might be good to listen to how the Holy Spirit would challenge us to have a unique vocabulary to talk to or about our unique God.

(5) Worthlessness of conduct

  • As the cliche goes, “What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you are saying.” So we need to make sure that we both talk like Jesus talked and live like Jesus lived.

Anything less than these standards just may be misusing God’s holy name and character by misrepresenting Him or giving Him a “bad name.” What do you think?

I am continuing our look at the Ten Commandments in our series The Love In The Law next Sunday. I would absolutely love it if you could join us!

Links & Quotes

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Some great reading from today…

Very thought-provoking: Can Theology Be True If It’s Self-Contradictory?

“I have never been hurt by what I have not said.” —Calvin Coolidge

“Do you see what God is saying here? ‘If you really want to walk in the Spirit—if you really want My anointing—you need to seek more than direction from Me. You need to come into My presence and get to know My heart, My desires! You see, I want to anoint you—to use you in My kingdom!’” —David Wilkerson

“Where adequate power is present almost any means will suffice, but where the power is absent not all the means in the world can secure the desired end. The Spirit of God may use a song, a sermon, a good deed, a text or the mystery and majesty of nature, but always the final work will be done by the pressure of the inliving Spirit upon the human heart.” —A.W. Tozer

Melinda Penner points out how the Hobby Lobby case has shown how our rights have shifted.

For my pastor friends (and for those who want to bless their pastor:: The Burden Of The Pastor.

Links & Quotes

link quoteSome cool reading I came across today.

“We simply can’t change ourselves. Only the Spirit of God can conform us to the glorious image of Christ.” —David Wilkerson

Oh, that today my clothes may be vestments, my meals sacraments, my house a temple, my table an alter, my speech incense, and myself a priest!” —Charles Spurgeon

I like this: 8 Things Healthy Couples Don’t Do.

“Sound biblical and theological learning is useful for building the church when it is delivered with patience and gentleness by a loving shepherd.” —T.M. Moore

Links & Quotes

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These are links to articles and quotes I found interesting today.

Truth! What Gossip Actually Does

“How little people know who think that holiness is dull. When one meets the real thing, it is irresistible.” —C.S. Lewis

“The difference in winning and losing is most often not quitting.” —Walt Disney

A son shows his sick mother some love: A Message Of Love In The Snow

Max Lucado on what angers Jesus: Hucksters And Faith Peddlers

Researchers question the long-term effectiveness of ADHD medicines: The Smart-Pill Oversell

An interview with Alvin Plantinga: Is Atheism Irrational?

[VIDEO] A great TobyMac song with a great message: Speak Life

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