Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Burgers, Behavior, & the Bible

We certainly have come a long way, baby! We have come all the way to where we can leave self-control, maturity, and manners at home when the local burger bar apparently screws up on our hamburger order.

The scene in Kansas City, Missouri got a little "burned" when the local McDonald's couldn't get this woman's  burger made to her liking. Employees estimate that she caused some $1,500 - $1,700 dollars in damage when she threw a bucket of water, wet floor signs, and cash registers at the counter clerk.

We as a society continue to downplay the teaching and expectation of self-control. Children are continually coddled and their behavior, no matter how damaging or destructive, is often thought of as "cute." We don't need studies or surveys to show that we are growing more violent as a society.

A December 1998 USA Today article stated: "News reports across the country reflect a growing trend among America's children--a willingness to commit violent acts. Teenagers and even younger kids are the perpetrators of an increasing number of vicious crimes, including incidents in which parents, classmates, and teachers have been murdered. The rest of the population find themselves shaking their heads and wondering, "What went wrong?"

"Growing up in America is risky business today," maintains Hill M. Walker, professor of special education, University of Oregon, Eugene, and co-director of the San Diego (Calif.) Center for Children's Tom and Julie Arnold Institute for Developmental Research. "It seems we've lost the ability to safely and effectively raise our children."

Angry people usually justify their anger, by blaming someone else. We constantly hear someone say, "You made me mad!" The truth of the matter is that no one can "make you mad", we choose to be angry because it makes us feel good. The Bible is replete with warnings about giving into anger when other people's behavior, words, or actions lead to our becoming angry. When we become angry, we are often focusing on our own welfare, comfort or happiness.

There is such a thing as righteous anger. And sometimes we need to talk about problems or deal with dangerous situations. (Even at these times, we must exercise self-control.) Yet most of the time, our anger is not righteous. As James wrote, "Man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires" (James 1:20).

Most of society rejects the bible as any kind of binding guideline for living. Apart from the working of the Holy Spirit most people will be unable to control themselves or even consider biblical admonitions as valid or viable. However, as believers we certainly need to be aware of our ability to become violently angry and our responsibility to maintain self control. We cannot turn the clock back on this Missouri woman who chose to ignore self-control and vent her anger over a botched burger. Allow me however, to share with you a few scriptural references on anger in order for each of us to chew on periodically:

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret-it leads only to evil (Psalm 37:8).

A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult (Proverbs 12:16).

Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing (Proverbs 12:18).

A wise man fears the Lord and shuns evil, but a fool is hotheaded and reckless (Proverbs 14:16)

A quick-tempered man does foolish things, and a crafty man is hated (Proverbs 14:17).

A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly (Proverbs 14:29).

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger (Proverbs 15:1).

A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel (Proverbs 15:18).

Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city (Proverbs 16:32).

A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered (Proverbs 17:27).

It is to a man's honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel (Proverbs 20:3).

Do not say, "I'll pay you back for this wrong!" Wait for the LORD, and he will deliver you (Proverbs 20:22).

Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control (Proverbs 25:28).

Mockers stir up a city, but wise men turn away anger (Proverbs 29:8).

A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control (Proverbs 29:11).

An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins (Proverbs 29:22).

You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, "Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment." But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment ... first go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift (Matthew 5:21-24).

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:4-5).
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions (Galatians 5:19-20).

"In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold (Ephesians 4:26-7).

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you (Ephesians 4:29-32).

Let your gentleness be evident to all (Philippians 4:5).

But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips (Colossians 3:8).

And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful (2 Timothy 2:24).
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires (James 1:19-20).

Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing (1 Peter 3:9).

Scripture passages taken from an article entilted "What God Says about Anger in the Bible"
(c) 2001 Doug Britton (Permission granted to print for personal use)

1 comment:

hiswhisperings said...

I'm with you, but how do we reach people? How do we enlighten those who think they are already enlightened and we are the ones with the blinders on? Thank you for reaching out to the world with your blog.