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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Five Hints For Those Who Want To Guarantee a Divorce

So, you want to make sure that your marriage ends in divorce, huh? Well, here are some sure-fire helps.

I can’t guarantee it will work but these should set you on the road to failure.

1–Don’t work on your relationship. After all, you’re in love and everything will work out naturally. 

That lovely period preceding marriage when you “fall in love” is the stuff of legends, superhero stories, songs, movies, books—you name it.

But, if you really want a divorce, forget that this first glow is just the flower of a relationship.

The fruit talks a lot of work.

And you want to live in this constant state of “being in love.” (These last three words are said with violinsplaying in the background, flower petals floating on a warm breeze and Chanel Number Five perfume flavoring the air).

So, just decide that “real love” is a river of powerful emotion and roses. If you don’t have it, have enough “courage” to leave and look for “real love.”

2. Quit when it gets tough. And it always gets tough, so you don’t have to worry. Sometimes tough even lasts a few years. So, when it’s hard, bail out. Divorce guaranteed.

3. Go into marriage with the idea that your partner is there to make you happy. That way, when you’re not happy, you have a good excuse to quit. “I’m tired of doing what everyone else wants me to. I’m going to do what’s best for me. Too bad for that person I said I loved, my kids, my friends, and those who love me. Me! That’s who counts.”

4. And if you’re really serious about a divorce, here’s a hint. Work constantly to change the person you’re married to. Gripe at them. Ridicule them. Bully them. Pout. Scream. Manipulate. Never look at things from their point of view.

Do what it takes to make them do what you want them to, to become the person you dream of.

Note: If you want to be successful on this point you’ve got to forget that the only person in the relationship that you can change is yourself, and that is already difficult. You’re working so hard to change the other one because you’re miserable and you want them to make you happy.

Ignore your own faults and never call to mind that there was something about the other one that made you love them and caused you to marry them, even though you knew they weren’t perfect.

5. Move away from your close relationship with God. Years of counseling with people reveal one thing to me–if you want a divorce, avoid a close  relationship with God. That might be inconvenient. Grow a bit cold towards God.

Back off on your love for Him. Stay mad at Him about something so you can blame Him. That way His presence doesn’t bother you when you do marriage-killing stuff. You don’t have time to pray, read His Word and meet together with others who love Him, do you?

So, there you have it. No one can predict the future but if you do these things you should be well on your way to a divorce.

Ah, what’s that? You didn’t want to guarantee a divorce?

What did you want then? You wanted to make your marriage work?

Hmmm, that’s harder but you know what? The results are a million times more fulfilling and you even get a secret weapon to help. God is on the side of people who want to make their marriages something special.

After all He created marriage and even gave away the first bride. How does success work? Just listen.

You husbands: love your wife like Jesus loves each of us (that is “going-to-the-Cross” kind of love).

Work, even sacrifice what you want so she can grow and become all God created her to be. Wrap your arms around her when she hurts, or she feels weak or afraid. By the way you act towards her, let her know she’s the most special person in the world.

Walk next to her when you’re going somewhere… (are you reading Rachel?) Think about what would help her advance.

And ma’am? Respect him. He may not be the brightest comet in the night sky but he’s yours. Treat him like he’s Superman. Lift him up when he wants to quit. Tell him he can do it. Work like crazy so that he can do it.

Love him even more than you love your kids. Don’t always have a better idea. Let him know that you respect him. Let him know that you respect him. Let him know that you respect him.

And if you don’t respect him? You work that one out with the Lord because it’s not me who said it. The Lord started it (Ephesians 5:33—“…the wife must respect her husband.” NIV) And if he’s not respectable—which honestly would be the exception—respect the position of “husband” that God has set in place.

You know, the “How To Make Your Marriage Work” list looks a lot more attractive than the “How To Guarantee a Divorce” list.

Which list are you using to guide your life?

Can you add any ideas to the “how to guarantee a divorce list?” How about the “how to have the marriage you dreamed of list?”

Feel free to share this message with others.


Ephesians 5:21 “Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another.

22-24 Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing.

So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.

25-28 Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty.

Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage.

29-33 No one abuses his own body, does he? No, he feeds and pampers it. That’s how Christ treats us, the church, since we are part of his body. And this is why a man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife.

No longer two, they become “one flesh.” This is a huge mystery, and I don’t pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband. (The Message)


Hmmm …Don’t measure anything unless the data helps you make a better decision or change your actions. If you’re not prepared to change your diet or your workouts, don’t get on the scale.

Seth Godin

Flickr: Creative Commons John C Bullas Divorce Cakes a_005  Flickr, creative commons, Patricia van Casteren kiss


Are You Smarter Than a Bug?

If you find yourself bopping your brains out, you might want to look and see if there are any window panes in front of you.

I’m always happy to find something dumber than I am, so I really enjoyed watching wasps crash against window panes when I was a kid.

Somehow my sensitive young mind couldn’t grasp why these insects couldn’t see that the bottom half of the window was open. The front door stood open also, because it was hot outside.

And the wasp? “Crash! Crash! Crash!” Instead of flying away, he kept bopping against the part of the window that wasn’t open. He was persistent, I’ll give him that.

I also imagine he must have been knocked goofy after a couple of bangs against the window.

Sometimes I would even (carefully) try to help him by knocking him away from the window pane so that he could see more opportunities to escape. As often as not, though, he’d zip back to the same place.

“Bang, bang, bang.” Continue reading

The Correct Emotional Reaction When You’re Being Sniffed By a Bear

A mature person has learned to be the commanding general of his emotions

Our five senses help us to know the world around us, but in reality they don’t do a lot of interpretation. They work closely with the interpreters.

We interpret what we hear, smell, feel, taste and touch with our emotions, our logic. These help us to make sense of all that’s going on around us. We hear a noise in the forest. We see a bear running towards us. Raw fear sends bolts of electricity up our backbone. Our brain says, “That bear is going to kill and eat you.”

And your emotions kick in and say, “Get out of her, fast!” And your legs fly into motion. (Note: some experts counsel you to avoid running because that excites the bear and provokes him to attack. These men in the know counsel you to lie down and cover your head with your arms. I don’t know myself. I think if a grizzly was sniffing around me, I’d probably die of a heart attack. That might be preferable to getting ripped apart and eaten. Having never been there myself I just leave it to you to decide. I guess it’s according to how fast you can run or if you have someone slow and tasty with you).

Our eyes see a sunrise over the mountain. Our brain says, “The sun is coming up.” Our feelings and emotions say, “Wow! That is beautiful.” Our spirit chimes in with, “O, Lord, what a gift you’ve given us, providing us with such beauty.” Continue reading

Giving Up My Right To Revenge

Police shows have succeeded cowboy shows in our imagination. Roy Rogers used to leap on his faithful steed Trigger and barrel away after Black Jack Jenkins or Black Jack Somebody-Or-Other. A hoof-pounding horse chase followed.

Today Tom Hanks jumps in his Ferrari and squeals and screeches through the streets chasing Black Jack’s cinematic children.

I think one reason we like cowboy movies is that they give us such a sense of fulfillment, at least the cowboy movies before 1965. The bad guy always gets it in the gizzard at the end and he’s paid back for all the evil he’s done. Things are evened up.

In high school our glorious team got stomped 59-6 by the Murfreesboro Rattlers one year. I may have already told you that but I was really marked by that beating. The next year we came back and beat them 44-0. You can look it up in the annals of the Nashville News. Our theme that year was, “We ain’t forgetting!”

What a good feeling to even up the accounts like that.

Except when I analyze it, it’s not really what the Lord taught. Vengeance? Continue reading