A few Sundays ago I was preaching from Proverbs on the importance of having patience and slowly building anger (Proverbs 14:29, 15:18, 16:32, 29:8). In a way I believe my study for this sermon was part of God’s plan because of what would come on Tuesday afternoon.
That morning as I gave two Church members a ride into town, we discussed a sermon illustration from Sunday. Using Ephesians 4:26 (“be angry and sin not) and Psalms 4:4-5 where that quotation comes from, I explained patience in stressful situations comes from unpacking your anger bag.
Life is filled with frustrations. Normally instead of dealing with those frustrations we simply compartmentalize them (put into our imaginary anger bag). This works for a while, but eventually it becomes too heavy to handle. So instead of making the bag heavier we must unpack our anger by listening to God (Psalms 4:4), obeying Him (Proverbs 4:5), and placing the situation in His control (Psalms 4:5).
About three hours after our conversation about keeping your anger bag light, God gave me a personal illustration on its importance.
Tuesday morning I went to pick up some pens that had “Tabernacle Baptist Church” printed on them in preparation for our 20th anniversary yesterday. Because the original artwork had said “Taberacle” I was careful to point out their mistake, and visit a week before to make absolutely sure it would be printed correctly.
Imagine my surprise when they handed me a box of 150 pens with the name “Taberancle Baptist Church” printed on them!
Of course I was pretty annoyed at that moment, especially since their work order and invoice clearly said “Tabernacle Baptist Church.” However because the Lord had helped me personally apply my own message that pen frustration was placed in an almost empty anger bag. And the correct pens were supplied (for free) on Friday.
Life is filled with small frustrations that can daily lead to overflowing anger bags. Evaluating and dealing with our anger is a necessary part of life so that when true frustrating situations come, we will be ready.