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Seeing Red

Ephesians 4:26-31 “And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil. If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.”

This week, especially tomorrow our country is going to be making some big decisions that will define the next four years. We have not been this divided as a country in several years and people already have their minds set one way or the other. There has already been several months of anger boiling up inside many of us and this vote will only set off more anger when the final decision is made. As Christians and followers of Jesus we need to remember to let our actions and responses show acceptance of all and their choices. Our commission is teach the world about Jesus and His second coming and it can only begin when we don't follow what the world does, instead just simply share Jesus and remember that God still has His hand in this world and the outcome is still in God's hands and He is allowing whatever to come to come in order to further His plans of salvation. Our job is to trust God's leading and do as He has asked in 1 Timothy 2:1-4 -"First, I tell you to pray for all people, asking God for what they need and being thankful to him. Pray for rulers and for all who have authority so that we can have quiet and peaceful lives full of worship and respect for God. This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to know the truth."

This blog has been on my heart and I have been praying God would show me the right time to use it and I feel as we enter the elections this week, today is the time. It is a little longer but I allowed God to lead me as I wrote this and pray you all will find a blessing from it.

We are all full of emotions and feelings. Some are wonderful feelings like love, joy, happiness. These make us all warm and fuzzy like the sun shining all warm and sunny. But, there are some feelings that don't do our soul any good. Frustration, sadness, anger. These only make us feel down and bad about ourselves. And they also can cause us to lash out at those around us.

Today let's talk about anger. When you look at the definition it's a pretty strong negative feeling. Anger is a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility. Anger causes us to snap at people, possibly provoke a fight. Anger can at times lead to hostility towards someone (look at the riots around us). We can be angry when things aren't going our way, when things are falling apart around us straining our finances. Anger comes in when we are more upset at the actions of someone else or we’re mad because of the loss of a loved one or sickness that shouldn't happen. When frustration or stress levels are high only a simple thing could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and our anger rears its ugly head. Anger is a real emotion from the sin of this world and we all will face it more than once.

Have you ever been so mad or angry that all you see is red? There's no reasoning with you and everything and everyone just adds to the problem. All you can see is the hurt, stress, arguments, and also everything you have let go of in the past comes back to mind. You start playing out scenarios and fights in your head and the more you let anything fester the angrier you get.

There is a story in the Bible of someone who had let their anger build to where they only could see red. Have you heard about the talking donkey? Balaam was a Prophet of God and on one occasion Balak, King of Moab, wanted Balaam to curse the Israelites. The first time Balak sent his officials to recruit Balaam, Balaam spoke with God who told him not to go. But, after the second group of officials came inquiring, offering many riches, Balaam again consulted God who told him to go (it should be known Israelites had been blessed by God so no curses should be brought upon them).

After having to deal with Balak’s officials twice already and trying to do his best to please God I’m sure Balaam’s frustration levels were already high. After God told Balaam to go, he headed down the path towards Balak (what should be noted here is that God allowed Balaam to go, not to curse the Israelites, but to teach Balaam a lesson. God knew Balaam’s heart was thinking more of the riches than God's will). As Balaam rode his donkey, God sent an Angel to block his path with a sword drawn. Although Balaam didn't see the Angel the donkey did, so the donkey walked off the trail into a field. Balaam hit the donkey trying to get it back on the road. Again, the Angel stood with sword drawn a little further up in the path blocked by two stone walls. The donkey pushed Balaam against the wall crushing his foot. By now I would say Balaam’s anger was beginning to boil, as he began to hit the donkey to keep it moving. A third time the Angel blocked Balaam’s path giving the donkey nowhere to move so the donkey, still seeing the Angel, laid down. At this point all Balaam could see was red as he got off the donkey and began hitting her with a stick. The Lord made the donkey talk as she asked why Balaam was hitting her.

I don't know about you, but at this point I think I would be speechless. Animals can't talk my language yet here she was talking like a human. But no, Balaam was so angry and seeing only red he didn't stand there speechless or in awe. No, he began arguing with the donkey. What! Wait, he talked back to the donkey? It was at this point the Angel revealed himself to Balaam explaining that he was sent to stop Balaam and if it weren't for the donkey, he would have killed Balaam. Read how the story turns out in Numbers 22 through 23.

This is how anger can take ahold of us. The first time Balaam only hit the donkey and redirected her but by the third time he was so angry that all he could think of was to kill his faithful animal. He was so angry that he couldn't see how un-logical it was that a donkey was talking, and he argued back. His anger could have very well cost him his life that day.

But I know God didn't want to kill Balaam, this is not His nature. I believe God allowed the donkey to see the Angel so He wouldn't have to allow the Angel to kill Balaam. God gave Balaam a chance two times to calm down before it would be too late the third time. By the third time when the donkey lay down and began talking it was then that God had Balaam’s attention and revealed the Angel and his intention. I don't want to think how this story would have gone had Balaam continued to let his anger lead him rather than recognizing God and listening to His will.

I don't think any one of us has encountered a talking animal, but we all have probably let our anger boil to where we've seen red and have said or done something or many things we've regretted. That anger can do a number on our bodies and is a very unsettling feeling to have. Be honest with yourself, can you think of a time you let your anger run rampant in your mind and what it led to? Can you see how God sent a sign to stop your words or actions that got your full attention? God is not a mean God, but He is a just God. When we are not on the right path He will give us many opportunities to see our folly and turn back, but, there are times He has to finally let us fall, to help teach us a lesson. Once we hit rock bottom, if we turn to Him, He will help us back up. But it must be our choice to stand back up and do what is right.

They say for every minute you are angry you lose 60 seconds of happiness. With anger being such a dark, negative emotion, that brings my body down I want to try to remain happy or at least positive. Instead of dark clouds and red, I choose blue skies and sunshine. The only way I can get that is to stay connected to Jesus. When the anger creeps in (and it does), all I can do is pray for peace to get through it and that Jesus will take the lead in the situation or the person I am upset with. And, when I do fall and lose it (which I have), all I can do is pray for forgiveness that next time I handle it better.

Today, let's choose happy and be happy as a bird with a French fry.

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