Ball Park Anger
Well, baseball is back and our Blue Jays are doing well. They are an exciting and entertaining young team with loads of potential. I was doing some reading the other day and stumbled on a story about baseball that actually shocked me. I had never heard it before. It centred on anger – uncontrolled anger and how destructive it can be.
It seems that in the spring of 1894, the Baltimore Orioles came to Boston to play a routine baseball game. But what happened that day was anything but routine. The Orioles’ John McGraw got into a fight with the Boston third baseman. Within minutes all the players from both teams had joined in the brawl. The warfare quickly spread to the grandstands. Among the fans the conflict went from bad to worse. Someone set fire to the stands and the entire ballpark burned to the ground. Not only that, but the fire spread to 107 other Boston buildings as well.
What a sad, sad story. The bible warns us of the dangers of uncontrolled anger. The Apostle James states, “My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Your anger can never make things right in God’s sight.” James 1:19-20 (NIV) Wow, that is some awesome advice. We all get angry; it is a human emotion. Jesus expressed controlled, Spirit lead and righteous anger. But anger can be a playground for sin.
Here are some verses on anger to reflect on – to help us be patient, controlled and loving as we deal with anger. As one person has wisely said, “Anger is the wind that blows out the light of reason.” May the wisdom of theses inspired writers encourage us!
1) “An angry man stirs up strife, and a furious man abounds in transgression” (Proverbs 29:22). It’s so easy to make a mistake when your heart is filled with rage, to do or say things you will later regret.
2) “Be angry, and do not sin’: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil” (Ephesians 4:26, 27). Often, it takes time to cool down after your anger has peaked, but the Bible advises you to release your anger as soon as possible to keep from sinning.
3) “A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back” (Proverbs 29:11). Restraint will benefit you much more than unleashing your feelings of anger.
4) “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). The next time someone comes at you with claws' extended, try a gentle response.
5) “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city” (Proverbs 16:32). One of your most potent weapons against anger is the attribute of patience.
6) “The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression” (Proverbs 19:11). It takes wisdom and strength, from above, to let the discourtesy and rudeness of others pass without retaliation.
7) “A gift in secret pacifies anger, and a bribe behind the back, strong wrath” (Proverbs 21:14). If someone with whom you were angry gave you a nice gift, might it soften your heart?
8) “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret—it only causes harm. For evildoers shall be cut off; but those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth” (Psalm 37:8, 9). Even anger because of the temporary prosperity of the ungodly can have a negative effect on God’s people and should be avoided.
9) “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:20). Here is the best reason for a follower of Christ to avoid anger.
10) “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth” (Colossians 3:8). Remember that every scriptural command is also a promise: God promises to give you the power to do what’s right!
“Well it’s one two three strikes you’re out at the old ball game.” Let’s not let anger “strike us out!” Let’s keep anger under God’s control. Remember, “anger manages everything badly!”
Have a great week
- Love Pastor Ralph