Anger and Balky Lawn Mowers

243924697_5c0ec0d2a9_zPastor Dan Betzer tells the story …

A little boy is trying to sell an old push-style lawn mower.

A preacher stops by to check it out. The pastor pulls on the cord to start it. No luck. He pulls and he pulls and he pulls.

The motor refuses to start.
Finally the pastor says, “This lawnmower won’t start!”
The little boy replies, “You gotta cuss it preacher.”
The man replies, “I’m a pastor. I haven’t said a cuss word in eighteen years.”
The boy answers, “Just keep pulling on that cord. It’ll come back.”
Some situations (and people) just bring the worst out of us, don’t they?

Last week we gave you three of our seven suggestions to help you break out of your prison of anger:
1. Put a limit on your anger.
2. Get healed.
3. Make a conscious decision to obey.
  Here are the rest:
4. Do What You Can To Solve the Problem Causing the Anger. If it means an “adult confrontation,” we need to get at it. I say “adult confrontation” because so many act like four-years olds when they are in emotional situations.
A brawl broke out between the St. Louis Rams football team and the Dallas Cowboys, during a pre-season scrimmage together. Fights between players erupted all over.
Coaches had to end the scrimmage. Afterwards, one of the Cowboy players commented, ““It’s just football, man. We’re grown men. Whatever happens, happens.”
Unfortunately, that’s the attitude many people take about confrontation.
The Bible commands us to speak the truth in love. I don’t believe we have the right to speak the truth until we can do it in love.
Pray. Try to honestly allow God’s love for the other person fill your heart. When they begin to insult, accuse, criticize, lie, etc., you can keep your cool.
Usually it’s not like that, though. People have a tendency to mimic our actions towards them. Most times when we HUMBLY talk to someone about a problem, the problem gets resolved. Or at least we can agree to disagree, and that’s a big step forward.
Don’t let your conversation descend into a contest between Sumo wrestlers to see who wins the debate or who gets their way. Try for a solution that lets both sides win.
5. Sometimes we must decide to move on. We love and appreciate each other but somehow, when we’re together there are always fireworks.
Moving on is kind of sad, because in a sense it’s giving up and accepting second best, but sometimes that’s the way it is.
There are people who were super friends—until they worked together.
Paul and Barnabas were great friends and for a long time, excellent co-coworkers. But, their ministries had both evolved to a point where they couldn’t work together and remain true to what each felt God was calling him to do.
Attention: this doesn’t apply to marriage. Marriage is a powerful picture of the relationship between Christ and the Church. In marriage we’ve got to find a way to forgive, stay together, and pick the lock of the anger prison.
Pray like crazy (in faith) and seek help for your couple.
God will give special grace so we can do it. Unresolved anger explodes a marriage like an airstrike from an F-16. The results aren’t pretty. Find a way to get rid of your anger and move back into love.
6. If you can, stay out of situations you know will make you mad. For instance, my wife and I don’t usually put up wallpaper together. We have two different philosophies for the job. My philosophy can be resumed in one word: “fast.” Her philosophy is two words: “almost perfect.” Can you see a potential for conflict?
7. Choose joy. Recently, I started to get mad again about something that has been bugging me for a while. I could see, though, that I had a choice (people in prison don’t have a choice).
I could choose anger, and stew and sputter once again against all those injustices I had to put up with.
Or I could choose to be joyful.
Mentally, I compared the state of my insides when I was mad and how my innards felt when I was joyful. I chose joy. As a matter of fact I had to choose joy several times that day.
But, I did it.
Certain emotions can’t co-exist. Anger and joy for example. You can’t constantly be mad and at peace, or mad and full of faith and confidence.
Here’s one of the great dangers of anger: when it sets up housekeeping it settles down like a fat hen on her eggs. The eggs warm up all right, but watch out when those things hatch!
Can I pray for you? Lord Jesus, some of your kids are locked up tight in a prison of anger and hurt. Please break their chains, heal them, open their prison door, give them someone wise to talk to, and restore to them the power to choose peace in their mind in You. Amen.
Hmmm …
It’s rare to find a consistently creative or insightful person who is also an angry person.* They can’t occupy the same space, and if your anger moves in, generosity and creativity often move out. It’s difficult to use revenge or animus to fuel great work.
Seth Godin
Photo: Flickr, Creative Commons, David Lendrum lawn mower 2; Foreign Imagery  JOY

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Seven Ways To Escape From Anger Prison

When I got out of college, I worked a while for a small town newspaper. The county authorities wanted to build a new jail since ours had been built around the turn of the century.

I got the job of writing an article that would tilt taxpayers towards supporting a new jail.

So I visited the local hoosgow and found it a pretty bleak place. I noticed that someone had scrawled in the plaster of one wall, “Otis was here.” Otis was one of the policemen of our small town. I didn’t know if it was him or Otis of Andy of Mayberry.

Jailhouse humor.

If I didn’t have the conviction before, I knew for sure after that visit, that I only wanted to see that sad place and not be locked up there. I seemed to remember that our photographer took my picture staring out between the bars. I wish I still had it. My grandkids would be impressed.

My Time In Jail

You know what, though? I’ve been there in life; I’ve gotten so mad about some things that when I finally wised up and tried to escape my anger, I couldn’t do it.

I was in anger jail. Continue reading

What To Do When You Get Roaring Mad


Have you ever met someone who has the ability to make you roaring mad? The other day it happened to me and I’ll admit it caught me by surprise..

I’m not known as an angry person. At the beginning of our relationship, after Phyllis and I had been going together for several months, she said to me, “What does it take to make you mad? I’ve never seen you mad.”

She’s hasn’t said that for 44 years. She found the secret. (Actually, we’re always on our good behavior until we get the girl, isn’t that right guys?”)

Well, the other day I was talking to this lady on the phone. She works in an administrative office here in Saint Maur. She was telling me that a paper that I had sent her wouldn’t work. I told her that I didn’t have the paper she was looking for because someone in another administrative position had told me to do something else, which I had obediently done.

So, I was right.

But, she was convinced that she was right. It actually turned out that the other administrative person hadn’t counseled me correctly. I was right in my heart because I had done what the authorities said.

She could care less that I was right in my heart. That wasn’t her problem. Her problem was that the “i’s” weren’t dotted and the “t’s” weren’t crossed.

No matter that this was going to cause me some headaches.

The tone amped up a bit on one end of the phone, then on the other, then on the other again. At the last I was ready to throw the phone against the wall (I didn’t).

We ended the conversation on a frosty note.

For the next hour I replayed that conversation over and over again. I told her  ‘how it was » in the imaginary cat fight we had. Of course she couldn’t hear me, which was probably fortunate. I wondered how someone so obtuse could land in a position like that, etc. Continue reading

Are You a Complete Mess Or Just a Partial One?

I’ve noticed something: most of us are … well, you know … a mess. At least part of the time. (Note: for my non-US readers, “mess” used like this means: “someone who is very unhappy, confused, etc., someone who is showing a lot of emotion especially by crying, a very dirty or untidy state or condition”—Merriam Webster online dictionary.

It’s basically someone who feels like he’s losing it (according to David Porter).
Oh, we have our good days and we think we’ve arrived, then something happens and there we go again—a mess. We should respond with faith and a positive attitude but for a while it’s a battle. Anger, frustration, fear, temptation and doubt. Why? Why!

If I were God, I think I would zap me sometimes. He must get a little tired of it. Oh, I can pretty well hold it together on the outside and keep doing what I’m supposed to do, but inside, that’s another story! And I fight and fight and fight to get my inside lined up with what I believe God wants me to be. Continue reading