More Anger

October 2, 2010

We are already in the fourth week of our series on anger, and I’ve heard a lot of people talking about it.  A woman stopped me in Starbucks and started talking about it, and another person joined in too.  A young man was telling me his mother sat him down to have a long conversation about his anger issues (he was sort of angry with me). I’ve overheard conversations here in our office about anger, and I’ve been thinking about it myself too.

One of the axioms we hold here is preach to yourself first of all,  because if you do, you will never run out of things to say. And if you’re actually trying to apply what you preach to your own life, your preaching will be authentic.  The first life that should be changed by my preaching is my own.

On the other hand, one of the most paralyzing things to preachers when preparing a message is the awareness of their own imperfections.  It can be daunting, it can even erode your faith that God can use you to do anything of substance in people’s lives. And what can be said of preachers and pastors can be said of all people of faith.  Our own weakness and failures can keep us from giving testimony to the truth. 

One Pastor I know, Steve Furtick, at Elevation Church, writes this: 
“The reality is you still have a message to deliver.  And it’s the most relevant and powerful message in the history of the world.  People desperately need it and you can’t afford to hesitate to deliver it.  So, before you preach or do anything that God asks you to do, pray this prayer:

I’m not perfect, but this is a perfect message.”

Your life isn’t perfect.  You have sins and struggles.  Your delivery isn’t perfect. You could improve every aspect of it. But your message is perfect, because it’s Jesus’ message.  And he is perfect, his life was perfect, his death was perfect, his resurrection was perfect.  
His Word is perfect.”

So with that in mind, I will be preaching again this weekend and next about anger,  fully aware of my own issues with it. In fact, I have been making a list this week of my anger issues (no, I’m not going to share them all, suffice it to say, they are fairly typical: anger at perceived slights and disrespect, anger when people don’t do what I want them to do, anger when I am asked to do what I don’t want to do). And I am bringing this list into my prayer and actively praying about it.  

Why not do the same thing too.  Make a list, write a letter (but don’t send it), think about your anger issues, and their real sources.  Pray about it, and ask God to lift it from your heart, to just get rid of it. But also start the conversation about it: at home, with a friend, together with your spouse or children.  

No, you’re not perfect, but God’s Word is, and you can still share it with them:

Be angry, but don’t sin,
don’t let the sun go down on your anger
and give no opportunity to the devil.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger,
brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

Ephesians 4. 26,27,31

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