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Code Red: When Everything Goes Out Of Control

 

I’m sure y’all are wondering what I’m referring to by ‘code red’, well it’s something called commonly known as “anger” (probably not what you were expecting huh!?). You might have seen that term in movies and books, when there’s a crisis, an attack anything that needs to addressed immediately. Well, anger is also an issue that cannot be ignored. If you have it, you cannot afford to ignore because it causes one to lose control.

Anger is a normal emotion we all experience at times. But when it gets out of control, it can cause problems in our relationships and in the overall quality of our lives.

This is not a small issue as some of you may think, because even myself sometimes I struggle with this anger issue. I often find myself losing my temper when things don’t go my way, when my expectations are not met, when bad things just keep happening to me for reasons I fail to understand, when i am belittled or face rejection and indifference, when my phone just suddenly decides to work against me and just switches itself off, when the bandwidth is not going fast enough, when i have a group work at school but nobody shows up for the work and I have to do it on my own for everyone, and so many other instances. I have realized that anger is like a deep pit, once you fall in it, it’s free falling with no end!! It causes one to lose control, really lose control over you emotions, actions, words, thoughts; just about everything!

Anger seems to be everywhere; you see it in parking lots, on the road, in supermarkets, in schools, homes, even in church.

Take this for example:

You’re stuck in traffic, making you late to work for the third time in a week. Walking in the door, you pass by a co-worker you cannot stand, who offers you a fake smile and a “you’re late” comment. You keep walking, but the anger that is simmering below the surface begins to move to the top. Upon reaching your desk, you notice a stack of work waiting that your boss wants done “ASAP.” You think about having a cup of coffee, then notice someone took the last drop and didn’t bother refilling the pot. About now, it feels like the top of your head may come off. You are truly cranky, and it’s not even 9 A.M.

Imagine what will happen when such a person gets home from work!!

As if that’s not enough almost every day a new twist on anger hits the newsstands. A high-school baseball coach breaks an umpire’s jaw over a disputed call. Two shoppers exchange blows over who deserves the first spot in a checkout lane that just opened. In California, an angry driver yanks a pet dog out of the vehicle that bumped his car and throws the animal into the oncoming traffic. The dog dies, and the man is sentenced to three years in jail. A 15-year-old boy gets fed up with being put down by his classmates and opens fire on them in his suburban San Diego high school.

 

These are just a drops in an ocean. Many of road accidents happen because of anger. Many marriages split because of anger. Relationships are breaking because of anger.

If you offend someone, you gotta brace yourself for an angry outburst, I remember I was walking in the streets one day going home, and I stepped on a guy, immediately I turned to him and said I’m sorry but it was as if my excuse fell on deaf ears, the guy started shouting on me, you’d think I had injured him for life. So it didn’t matter I said sorry or that it was unintentional, the first reaction was anger. I’m not saying everyone is like that, and I know there are people who are generally calm and collected but each one of us has had a brush with anger at some point.

According to Neil T. Anderson, in his book called: “Getting anger under control”, he says that sometimes we can’t help ourselves; He says and I quote:” We don’t have direct volitional control of the functioning of our glands. In the same way, we don’t have direct volitional control of our emotions, including the feelings of anger. We cannot will ourselves to like people we have an emotional hatred for. We can choose to do the loving thing for them even though we don’t like them; but we cannot simply tell ourselves to stop being angry, because we cannot directly manage our emotions that way. When we acknowledge that we are angry, however, we do have control over how we are going to express it. We can keep our behavior within limits; because that is something we have volitional control over. And we do have control of what we will think and believe, and that is what controls what we do and how we feel.” He uses a computer analogy to explain this anger phenomenon like this: our brain is the hardware, our minds is the software and we all know both have to work together; neither is any good without the other. The way it works for an angry person is like this, what is causing such an angry reaction is the brain (hardware), but it is the mind (software) and the way it has been programmed. Neither do the circumstances of life or other people and events that make us angry, it is our perception of those people and events and how we interpret them that determine whether we will lose our temper or not. And that is a function of our mind and how it’s been programmed.

Example:  Suppose you are busy shopping one day, when another person suddenly knocks you down and falls on top of you. You have no idea why the person has done that. If your initial thought is that the person is careless or rude, you will likely get angry. Your nervous system will respond immediately, enabling your body to react in a flight-or-fight response. If your external senses are telling you that the person is a thief who is armed, your adrenaline rush will help equip you to flee or protect yourself. If your external senses pick up that it was just some kids playing without supervision, you will be inclined to push them off you, dust yourself off, and reprimand them for their carelessness. Whatever the case, your anger is a natural response to how your mind interprets the data that is being picked up by your five senses.

Suppose your initial thought is directed toward the other person and not yourself. You may be wondering what has happened to this person who has fallen and is now lying on top of you. You may initially be angry, or at least startled, until your external senses give you some important new data. Now you realize this person is in trouble, and your anger quickly turns to sympathy, and that causes you to cry out for help. Then upon further examination, you realize that the person is simply drunk and has passed out. Now you are angry, and you push the person off with a strength you never knew you had. So how you feel is dependent upon the data you receive and how your mind interprets that data.

Can you see that!! So for some of us who have an issue with anger, then it is a programming problem, we gotta program ourselves the right way. But how do we do that? We gotta change our belief system because how our minds have been programmed is revealed by our belief system, which reflects our values and attitudes about life. In other words, what we believe does affect how we respond to the circumstances of life. If our identity and security are centered in our eternal relationship with God, then the things of life that are temporal have less of an impact on us. As we are conformed to the image of God, we will become a little more like Jesus.

Example: Suppose two partners in a business are confronted with a setback. They have just lost a contract they thought would bring them to a new level of prosperity. One partner, a nonbeliever, sees this as a financial crisis. He had believed that this new contract would make him successful. Many of his personal goals were going to be realized, but now his dreams are dashed. He responds in anger to all who try to console him and calls his lawyer to see if he can sue the company who broke the contract.

The other partner is a Christian who deeply believes that real success lies in becoming the person God created him to be. He believes that God will supply all his needs. Therefore, this loss has very little impact on him. He experiences some disappointment, but he doesn’t get angry because he sees this temporary reversal as an opportunity to trust in God. One of these two partners is stressed out and angry, while the other partner is experiencing very little stress and anger. Can faith in God have that kind of an effect on us? Clearly so, because in our example the difference is in the two partners’ belief systems, not in their physical capacity. From the wisdom literature we read, “As he thinks within himself, so he is” (Proverbs 23:7). How we behave flows from the reservoir of what we believe.

In short, how we react is as a result of how our minds are programmed, and the programming is as a result of what we believe; so we have to examine our belief for it our belief that sets the course of how our minds will interpret the circumstances that we face and thus determining the reaction we will have.

Your belief system cannot be that you are alone on this earth, that you are a failure, that nobody loves you, that you have to everything by yourself, that nobody understands you because it is such beliefs that will lead you to anger.

Some of you may feel that you can’t control your anger and reactions, but let me tell you something you can. If you believe it, really believe it, you can overcome your anger. I know a particular quote that says:” If you believe you can, you are right and if you believe you can’t, you are also right”

Take the belief that we find in Philippians 4:13: “I Can Do All Things through Christ Who Strengthens Me”.

Can you see that; the bible tells you and I, that we can do all things, not some things but all things through the strength of Jesus.

Here are a few questions one can ask themselves that may indicate the presence of anger; please let us examine ourselves because anger affects not only us but everyone and everything around us.

  1. Do you feel sometimes like hitting someone for one reason or the other?
  2. Do you feel an urge to retaliate when someone has insulted you or harmed you?
  3. Do you hate a person who has dealt with you unfairly? Or stolen from you?
  4. At night while lying in bed, do you think about people who have angered you? Who have hurt you? Could be a co-worker, a supervisor, husband/wife, parent or sibling; could be anyone.
  5. Do you willfully ignore a person? By pretending to be busy, or that you didn’t see them?
  6. Do you hung up a phone in the middle of a conversation?
  7. Do you ever walk out of a meeting or leave the house in protest?
  8. Do you interrupt others in the middle of a sentence? Either to justify yourself or to make a point?
  9. Do you sometimes feel like shouting at someone? You may not even know the person or that person may not have done you any harm.
  10. Do others frequently upset you?
  11. When you drive or travel, do you find yourself yelling at other people on the road?
  12. Do you throw things or kick things when you are angry? Your computer, phone, or any other thing in your path?
  13. Are calm in public but ‘different’ at home?
  14. Do you have good relationship with yourself, God and your neighbor?
  15. When things don’t go according to your expectations, or you face a difficult situation or you receive bad news, how do you respond? Do you react or act?

 

Words of Encouragement: Is it truly possible to be free from controlling anger? The answer to that question is a resounding “Yes!” Will it be a painless process? Probably not. Is it worth it? Absolutely, though you are going to have to come to that conclusion yourself.

Will you join me in this prayer?

Dear heavenly Father, You are a holy God, and You call me to be holy, set apart for Your use. Like You, I have the capacity for anger. But unlike You, I also have the capacity for using that anger wrongly. You have called me to freedom, but have told me not to use my freedom as an opportunity for the flesh. Rather I am to serve others in love. Please open my eyes to understand the source of my anger and the bitterness of my soul. Free me from my past, that it may no longer have any hold over me. Fill me with your Holy Spirit, that I may live a righteous life of patience, gentleness, and self-control. I thank You that You are indeed gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in loving-kindness and truth. In the name of the gentle and humble Jesus I pray, amen.

Thank you,

The Best Is Always Yet To Come

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FORGIVENESS

 

It’s the hardest thing to give away
And the last thing on your mind today
It always goes to those who don’t deserve
It’s the opposite of how you feel
When the pain they caused is just too real
Takes everything you have to say the word

Forgiveness,

It flies in the face of all your pride
It moves away the mad inside
It’s always anger’s own worst enemy
Even when the jury and the judge
Say you’ve got a right to hold a grudge
It’s the whisper in your ear saying set it free

Forgiveness,

It’ll clear the bitterness away
It can even set a prisoner free
There is no end to what its power can do
So let it go and be amazed by what you see through eyes of grace
The prisoner that it really frees is “you”

Those are the lyrics to the song: “Forgiveness” by Matthew West.

I stumbled upon this song one day and it really blew my mind because to be honest we all have one or two people in our life that has hurt us and every time you remember that; your heart is unsettled. I had a person like that too, and I struggled to forgive. And when I heard this song, it really spoke to my heart.

There are many definition of forgiveness of out there and I believe every person also has their own definitions. So in order to see it clearly, let’s look at what it is not:

  • Forgiveness is not sweeping the wrong or offense under the rug
  • Forgiveness is not remembering the wrong or offense done to one
  • Forgiveness is not holding grudges
  • Forgiveness is not seeking revenge or retaliation- “ an eye for an eye”
  • Forgiveness is not wishing bad luck or similar pain to others
  • Forgiveness is not bitterness
  • Forgiveness is not prideful
  • Forgiveness is not angry
  • Forgiveness is not resentful
  • Forgiveness is not slandering
  • Forgiveness is not in just words
  • Forgiveness does not depend the level or gravity of the wrong/offense

In other words, forgiveness is a lot of things but one thing that it is not is unsure. When you truly forgive, you know because it is from your heart.

Forgiveness has a standard. The standard of forgiveness is the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the standard of forgiveness because according to Luc 23:34; “ Then Jesus said,’ Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’

Here we see that Jesus forgave even those who mocked and killed him. Every time I consider this, I really wonder about the love of God. By doing this, Jesus became the standard of forgiveness, showing that forgiveness is necessary irrespective of the wrong done to us or the offense, we have to forgive. We simply cannot afford to cherish anger, bitterness, offense, unforgiveness, and revenge in our hearts.

When you read the bible, study the meaning of forgiveness, you’ll realize when God forgives you; it means He looks at you as if you had never sinned, as if you had never done anything wrong. You are then blameless before Him and that friends, is the Gospel; the Good news!!

A man like you and I can say today:’ I forgive you’, but tomorrow when you meet the same person, they’d take back their forgiveness; but God forgives and forgets. Irrespective of what you may have done, when you receive God’s forgiveness, it is finished, you don’t have to feel guilt, shame, embarrassment anymore because God has forgiven and forgotten your sin!! Micah 7:18.

The question most people ask themselves is:’ how can I forgive someone who has hurt me deeply?” To answer this question, let us first consider why we have to forgive. Forgiveness is so important because:

  • Forgiveness paves the way for harmonious relationship, even with an enemy.
  • We need to forgive because we need to be forgiven. No one is perfect, whether victim or perpetrator, no one is perfect. So we need to forgive because we also need to be forgiven ourselves.
  • There is no perfect relationship; whether with friends, family, co-workers, or any other relationship we can have. It is never and can never be perfect because nobody is perfect. Not even one.
  • When we forgive someone who has sinned against us, hurt us, offended us; God will also forgive us. But if you refuse to forgive others, then God will not forgive your sin either.
  • We need to forgive because being unwilling to forgive others, shows that we have not understood or benefitted from God’s forgiveness. I mean that, if you have been forgiven, that will create in you a forgiving heart towards others.
  • An unforgiving attitude not only destroys our relationships, friendships, but also poisons our soul; in other words, the person most hurt by unforgiveness is YOU, not your enemy or offender.
  • If we fail to receive forgiveness and to forgive those who offend, hurt, sin against us; we will find ourselves in a torture chamber. Matt 18: 21-35. Emotional torture, tortured with anger, malice, bitterness, and others.
  • When we fail to receive forgiveness and to forgive others, we will find ourselves having to do everything, be everything, depending on our own strength and ability and since that is not possible, we will find ourselves under high stress, working hard and struggling but never achieve any progress because the result of unforgiveness is a life of self imposed isolation, mistrust, bitterness, resentment and total cagey.

Looking around the world today, you see that many people are struggling to forgive the wrong done to them. They argue that it is too painful, too hurtful that they cannot forgive. Some will even say to your face directly even after asking for forgiveness that they will NEVER forgive you. Yet Jesus forgave those who mocked and killed him!! As He hang on the cross, in all kinds of pain He chose to forgive and prayed for his persecutors. How did He do that? Its because of Love.

Unforgiveness, offense, bitterness, revenge, anger is rampant in the hearts of many today because of lack of real love.

The solution that we need is to love, really love. Matt 5:44: “but I say to you, love your enemy, bless those who curse you, do well to those who hate you and pray for those who spitefully use you…”

This tells us that, instead of hurting those who hurt us, taking revenge on them, cursing them, wishing them a worse fate; we are to show love to them and pray for them. Why? Because when you love your enemy and pray for those who hate you or curse you; this releases you from the destructive emotions of anger, bitterness, revenge, self-pity, depression, hatred and others.

Your neighbor could be anyone. The loud, rude neighbor next door, a person who does not share the same faith with you, a person from another country, different language, different background or family, whether rich or poor, whatever be the color of their skin, able or disabled, mentally sound or not, short or tall, skinny or fat, clean or dirty; I mean it could be anyone. We are to love them all!!!

As people of God, when our neighbor hurts us, offend us, we should more concerned about their relationship with God and less about nursing our own grudges, self-pity and ill will.

As people God, when we fail to forgive our neighbor, we cannot even pray. You will only hear yourself, people around you will hear you but God will not hear you. Matt 5:23-24.

We read in 1peter 3:9, that we should not repay evil for evil or retaliate with hurt but instead when people hurt us, say hurtful things about us; we should pay them back with a blessing. That is the will of God and He will bless us for it.

Eph 4:31: “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and evil speaking be put away from you with all malice”

Back to the question about how can we forgive those who have hurt us so deeply?

We need to first forgive ourselves; that is realize that we also need to be forgiven, that we are not perfect either and then forgive those who have hurt, offended us and sinned against us.

Say this prayer with me:  Lord Jesus, forgive of my sins because of Your abundant mercy and compassion. I forgive myself, help me to forgive those who have hurt me; I release them all from my heart and I ask that You fill me with love enough. To love You and to love and forgive my neighbor as myself in your Holy name we pray, Amen!!

May God bless you and Keep you in this Love!!

The best Is Always Yet To Come!!

Song of today: Forgiveness by Matthew West: