Category Archives: Thoughts

Overcoming Vices!

Based on the writings of David Brandt Berg

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We all have habits, both good and bad. Anything you do automatically without consciously thinking about it, or without specifically deciding to do it, is a habit. Good habits or practices–such as tidiness, courtesy, good manners etc. are a real blessing. But when the habits you’ve picked up are BAD or DESTRUCTIVE, and you find them hard or almost impossible to change, they are known as VICES.

There’s a true story about a man who owned an eagle, and for many years had chained him to a stake. Over the years, the eagle had walked around and around that stake so much on the end of his chain that he’d worn an actual rut in the ground. Finally, he was getting old and his master felt sorry for him and thought, “These are his last days, so I’m going to set him free!” So he took the metal ring off the eagle’s foot, took him up in his hand and tossed him into the air. But what do you suppose happened? The old eagle had almost totally forgotten how to fly! He flip-flopped right back down to the ground, walked back over to the old rut and started walking around the rut like he had done for years! No chain or birdband held him! Just the habit!

It has been said that “The chains of bad habits are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken!” EXCEPT by the Lord! And “Habit is a cable; you weave a thread of it every day, and at last you cannot break it.” These are very true.

How many times have you tried to quit a bad habit, but found yourself almost powerless to get rid of it or stop doing it, no matter how much you tried to exert will power against it? The fact is that, in one area or another, we are all weak and very human and fallible, and subject to many different problems which can turn into bad habits and vices.

What most people do not realise is that a vice or a bad habit is often MORE than just an ingrained natural reaction. When you have a certain weakness, and you entertain and give in to it for a prolonged period of time, very often evil spirits–demons–are BEHIND these habits, playing them up and trying to keep you addicted to them, especially if they are bad habits which endanger you or your health, or your relationship with others.

According to God’s Word, there are definitely demons who play up certain sins and vices and try to destroy us through them. Such as demons of gluttony, demons of alcohol and drugs and cigarettes, demons of gambling, demons of sexual perversions, of homosexuality etc. These are some of the most OBVIOUS vices, but what many people do not realise is that things like hatred, guilt, bitterness, worry, pride, jealousy, self-righteousness, fear, lying and deception are also bad habits and vices, and the spiritual powers that bind people to them can be just as strong and destructive as the addiction that drives someone to compulsive gambling, drugs or alcohol abuse!

There are demons that will try to harm and destroy you in almost every phase of your life if you let them. This is especially true if you have a TENDENCY or a BESETTING SIN along some line, say, for example, a strong inclination to be jealous or to critically judge others. Or if you have a WEAKNESS towards alcohol or anything else. The Enemy can play on that and tempt you with it constantly.

ALCOHOLISM is a vice that has plagued mankind for millenniums, and though drinking wine in moderation was very common in Bible times, the Bible has much to say against the constant ABUSE of and OVER-indulgence in wine and other alcohol. (See Proverbs 20:1; 21:17; 23:29-35; 31:4, Ephesians 5:18; Titus 2:3) The Lord can not only set you free from the spirit behind alcoholism, but He can also give you the will power to continue to resist it once He’s delivered you.

We all know, of course, that the nicotine and tar in TOBACCO is very bad for our health and has been proven to be a major cause of cancer! Even most smokers recognise that smoking is a vice and a bad habit, but the point is, how can they STOP? As it can have such a grip and be so addicting! The solution to stopping is to desperately pray for the Lord to free you from the physical dependence on the nicotine, and to rebuke any bad spirits which could possibly be aggravating and adding to the addiction. Ask the LORD to DELIVER you, and He WILL!

DRUGS are also very addicting and very harmful. This includes not only the illegal drugs, but also the “legal” prescribed drugs that millions of people buy across the pharmacy counter. Many are addicting, and whatever “benefits” they give–whether escape from reality or relief from pain–almost all of them have bad side-effects, are harmful and expensive! But the good news is that the Lord has DELIVERED untold thousands of people from drug addiction of all kinds! MIRACULOUSLY! And often without any withdrawal symptoms!

GAMBLING is a vice as addicting as alcoholism or drugs, and is clearly a case of deceptive evil spirits compelling someone to gamble their hard-earned savings away at a toss of the dice, the turn or a wheel, the speed of a horse or a chance good hand of cards. The principle behind gambling is that you can make easy money without labour, just the opposite of the values of diligence, hard work and thrift that the Bible teaches. Also, the dependence on “luck” is nothing more than wishing for the blessing of the Devil, as the word “LUCK” comes from his name, “LUCifer”. It’s bad enough that some people are foolish enough to take RISKS or CHANCES in gambling, but those who are actually “good” at it or “lucky” are even MORE in need of deliverance!

HOMOSEXUALITY–or Sodomy, as it is known in the Bible–has been more fully covered in another article in this site, “The Doom of the Sodomites”. Please read this story and its “Food for Thought” if you have a problem with homosexuality.

Many Christians who self-righteously condemn others who are caught up in the obvious vices of alcoholism, drugs or sexual perversion think nothing of over-eating and obesity. Yet GLUTTONY, or COMPULSIVE EATING are often spiritually induced vices as well, and a compulsive bad habit that takes real prayer and determination to overcome. Gluttonly is often as strong and as bad a habit as drug addiction or alcoholism, and God’s Word gives ample warning against it. (See Proverbs 23:2,20-21; 1Peter 4:3.)

Speaking of SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS and a condemning CRITICAL SPIRIT, these are definitely very serious spiritual problems and vices also. If you find yourself constantly judging and critical, looking down on others, thinking you are better than they are, then you should definitely seek for deliverance from the negative, divisive spirits which cause you to be that way.

Self-righteousness is very closely related to PRIDE, and stems directly from it. And though we all have the besetting sin of pride and a love and concern for ourselves, the Enemy of our soul can often play on that natural human weakness and blow it up into the worst of all problems! Pride is the root of ALL sin, and was the cause of SATAN’S downfall. (Isaiah 14:12-15) The Lord HATES pride! (Proverbs 6:16-17)

Two other common vices that countless millions of people are afflicted with are HATRED and BITTERNESS. Like other sins of the mind and of the heart, these are definitely weaknesses brought on by evil spirits. For what the Bible has to say about bitterness, read Ephesians 4:31; Colossians 3:19; Hebrews 12:15; James 3:14-15. For hatred, read Proverbs 10:12; 15:17; 26:26; Galatians 5:19-21. Not only are these bad habits detrimental and even dangerous to others, but medical science has proven that they cause all kinds of psychosomatic illnesses to the one who is bitter or hateful by releasing actual poisons into the bloodstream.

FEAR and WORRY are related negative emotions which cause no end of bad effects to the one who is plagued by them. Being deeply fearful or constantly worrying are usually more than just ingrained habits or the result of some bad childhood experience. Fear especially is a terrible bondage, and the Bible clearly states that “GOD has NOT given us the spirit of fear, but of POWER, and of LOVE, and of a sound mind!” (2Timothy 1:7) (See also Proverbs 29:25; Luke 21:26; 2Timothy 1:7; Hebrews 2:15; 1John 4:18)

GUILT or a feeling of condemnation is also definitely spiritual, and brought on by the Devil, whom the Bible calls “the Accuser of the Saints”. (Revelation 12:10) People usually suffer from guilt because they are either disobedient and “have a certain fearful expectation of judgement” (Hebrews 10:27), or because “their conscience is weak” and therefore susceptible to the lies of the Enemy. (1Corinthians 8:7; Titus 1:15) The solution to breaking such an oppressive habit is to study the truth of GOD’S WORD to know what is WRONG and what is RIGHT, and then to OBEY and do the RIGHT THING! (Hebrews 10:22; John 15:3)

Some people have a compulsive bad habit of LYING or of practicing DECEPTION. The Bible makes it clear that this is also a serious vice. For Bible verses on lying, see Psalm 119:163; Proverbs 6:16-17; 10:18; 12:22, 13:5; 26:28; Ephesians 4:25. For deceitfulness, see Proverbs 12:5,17; 14:8,25; 26:24. There are many more bad habits and vices which we could list, but these are just a few examples of some of the most common ones. But remember, ANY bad or negative habit you have that hurts yourself or others is a VICE, and it is very possible that the Enemy of your soul is behind it, using it to try to defeat or hinder you.

It’s interesting also that a VICE is a workman’s TOOL that GRIPS something so it cannot move!

If you’re a Christian, evil spirits cannot permanently possess you, but they can try to put thoughts in your head to motivate you to do things which you shouldn’t. They try to INFLUENCE your mind and your spirit, and try to get you to yield to them. And if they can get you to yield to their influence or to decide to do their will, they get control and can almost bind you into vices or bad habits. If you get into a bad habit and do it continually, you can wind up in total defeat to where you’re obeying and listening to the Devil instead of the Lord.

Even born-again Christians who love the Lord are sometimes subject to evil spirits. Not permanently possessed, but OPPRESSED or under their influence. A Christian is the LORD’S property and possessed by the LORD and HIS Spirit. But of course, if you have some besetting sin, some dark corner of your life or bad habit that you’re not willing to yield to the Lord, the Enemy can bother you and plague you on that point. He can use that thing to weaken you or to cause defeat in that particular area of your life. This is why God’s Word says, “Neither give PLACE to the Devil!” (Ephesians 4:27) The Scripture calls them “BESETTING SINS” because they are SPIRITS that ATTACK you, “WEIGHTS” you must “lay aside”. (Hebrews 12:1)

When you “give place” to the Enemy in your life, it’s like having an evil boarder in your house: He’s not in control of the house, but he annoys you and causes you trouble and all kinds of damage. You tell him to leave several times but he won’t leave, so finally by the authority and the law–in this case the authority of the WORD and the Name of JESUS–you literally THROW him out! Otherwise he just won’t leave!

It’s sad that many Christians go so long without getting complete DELIVERANCE from deep-seated vices and bad habits! They just sort of harbour them and allow them to hang around without really getting RID of them. They don’t recognise that their problems are SPIRITUAL as well as physical, so they don’t take SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY over these spirits and REBUKE them and get RID of them.

You have to first of all be willing to RECOGNISE that there is a SPIRITUAL FORCE binding you into that vice, and you have to want to be FREE of it enough that you are not only willing to CONFESS it to the LORD and cry out to HIM for help, but you have to be willing to confess to OTHERS that you need help and prayer to overcome your weakness and bad habit. Because some vices have such a strong grip on people–even Christians–that they’re almost powerless to overcome them on their own.

If you have a real serious problem and you cannot seem to get deliverance through private prayer or trying to resist some vice on your own, then you need to contact other Spirit-filled Christians whom you know and trust and let them know you have a serious problem and ask for their united prayer! Never be ashamed to ask for help or prayer when you need it.

Remember, God’s Word says: “ONE can chase a THOUSAND, but TWO can put TEN THOUSAND to flight” (Deuteronomy 32:30), and it helps greatly to have someone else pray with you when you feel oppressed or distressed or attacked by the Enemy. “Where TWO or THREE are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them.” And, “If any TWO of you shall AGREE on Earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in Heaven.”(Matthew 18:19-20)

“If there is any SICK among you (SPIRITUALLY as well as physically), let him CALL for the ELDERS of the church and let them pray over him, and the prayer of faith shall save the sick. And if they have committed any sins, they shall be forgiven them. CONFESS your FAULTS one to another, and PRAY one for another, that ye may be HEALED.” (James 5:14-16) When you pray, quote and remind the Lord of the Promises that He has made in His Word. When you remind God of His Word, it shows you have faith in it. He has promised to keep His Word, so remind Him of it, cling to His Promises, memorise and quote them continually, and never doubt for a moment that God is going to answer–and He WILL! He HAS to! If you sincerely WANT deliverance and PRAY for a real victory over any bad habits, the LORD will help you! Jesus never fails! He always answers when we call upon Him with a WHOLE HEART.

“ALL power is given unto Me in Heaven and in Earth,” Jesus said (Matthew 28:18), and we have JESUS, so we have HIS power, so even the evil spirits and demons are subject unto us! (Matthew 10:1; Luke 9:1; 10:17-19, Acts 8:7). If there are demonic powers behind your bad habits, you can rebuke them in the name of Jesus, and they HAVE to DEPART!

To overcome a vice or bad habit, you first or all have to get delivered of the spiritual power that is behind the bad habit. Before you’re delivered, the binding spirit may pretty much have control, but after you are DELIVERED, it will be within your power to RESIST its re-entry!

But even after prayer and spiritual deliverance, it sometimes takes awhile to completely break free from the HABIT. Although you are delivered of the SPIRIT, you still have the ingrained HABIT, and the spirit may keep trying to come back to tempt you for awhile and play up on your weakness or tendencies along that line. Especially if a certain weakness or vice has been a big problem or habit for many years. It makes you much more SUSCEPTIBLE to attacks along that line. So for some time after prayer you may still have some battles with it. But don’t give up! It’s a real battle to overcome a strong bad habit you’ve had for years, but you need to resist even thinking about doing those things again. Rebuke the very THOUGHT of temptation, quote Scriptures and praise the Lord continually!

It’s not YOUR fault that you get TEMPTED. Nobody can keep temptation from coming, but you don’t have to YIELD to temptation! “You can’t keep birds from flying over your head, but you can CERTAINLY keep them from building a NEST in your hair!” Attack and hit the Devil back every time he tries his tactics on you! The Devil can only win if you SURRENDER! He can NEVER win as long as you keep FIGHTING. “RESIST the Devil and he will FLEE from you!” (James 4:7). As long as you keep resisting, he’ll keep fleeing. But if you stop resisting, he uses his lies and temptations and persuasion to win. When JESUS WAS TEMPTED by the Devil, He fought him with SCRIPTURES! (Luke 4:1-13). So quote the Word of God and rebuke the Enemy!

Some changes are instantaneous, overnight, and others take awhile. You can’t get over some habits in one day necessarily, because the Enemy doesn’t very willingly surrender territory which he has controlled so long. When people have had weaknesses and had channels open to the Enemy before, he tries to get back in if he can. But if you keep praying and asking the Lord to protect and deliver and give you the complete victory, and you claim and quote His Word, He WILL! “Whom the Son shall set free is FREE INDEED!” (John 8:36).

One of your best protections is to KEEP BUSY for God and others, doing what you know you SHOULD, as well as filling your mind and heart with positive, encouraging, strengthening and faith-building thoughts from His Word, remembering, memorising and continually quoting to yourself and even to the Enemy when he attacks you. And “pray without ceasing!” (1Thessalonians 5:17). As the poem says: “The Devil flees when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees!”

“Ye are of GOD, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is HE (JESUS) that is IN YOU, than HE (THE DEVIL) that is in the WORLD.” (1John 4:4). The power of the Lord is far greater, and is able to break all the chains that may bind you!

WHATEVER your bad habit is, JESUS can set you FREE! Are YOU free? Or do you need HELP? “ASK and ye SHALL RECEIVE!” Amen?

* * *

The following is a sample of a prayer for deliverance that you might find helpful, as it offers you an example, not only of how to call out to the Lord for His help to overcome vices, but also how to CLAIM and QUOTE Scriptures as you rebuke the Enemy:

(PRAY:) “Lord Jesus, I call out to YOU now with my whole heart and ask You, by the power of Your Holy Spirit, to FREE me from the terrible grip that this vice has on my life! YOU said in Your WORD, Jesus, ‘Greater is He that is in me (YOU in my heart, Lord!) than he that is in the World (the Devil)!’ So I KNOW that YOU are GREATER than the Enemy and CAN overcome this vice! You said, ‘ALL power is given unto Me in Heaven and on Earth’ and that `if ye shall ask ANYTHING in My Name, I WILL DO it’! So I ask You right now, Jesus, to BREAK every hold the Enemy has in my life and DESTROY the power of this bad habit! I REBUKE the Devil and ALL of his influence, right NOW, in Jesus’ name!

“Your Word says, ‘Give NO place to the Enemy’, and I don’t want ANYTHING that’s not of YOU, Jesus! Your disciples said, ‘Even the evil spirits are SUBJECT unto us!’, so I CLAIM that promise, I claim that SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY over the power of the Enemy–right NOW! And I REBUKE the Devil in the Name of JESUS CHRIST! I claim Your Promise, Lord: `RESIST the Devil and he will FLEE from you!’ I RESIST you, Satan, in the Name of JESUS CHRIST! I BIND and REBUKE any hold you might have on my life, any power you might have over me, in the Name of JESUS!

“JESUS, You PROMISED that “When ye shall call unto Me with a WHOLE HEART, I WILL answer thee!’ And Jesus, I AM crying out with ALL my heart for You to deliver me! And I EXPECT you to do it! You promised, ‘Whatsoever ye shall bind on Earth SHALL be BOUND in Heaven, and whatsoever ye shall loose on Earth, shall be loosed in Heaven’, so I BIND the power of the Enemy in YOUR NAME and I loose the grip he has on me and I ask You to cast him far away from me, NEVER to return! In JESUS’ name! I count it DONE, Lord! Thank You, Jesus! Thank You for setting me FREE! Help me now to take a stand of faith against the Enemy’s devices! Please give me the spiritual power to do what I can to resist temptation, and STAY free from the ingrained habits, Lord! In the Name of Jesus Christ! AMEN!”

 
 

Treasures. Copyright (c) The Family International

Open Up!

by Maria Fontaine

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“When I was in my first year of college, I started going out with a real sweet boy. We went many places and had a lot of good times together. He was very sweet and loved the Lord, but he was the silent type–very into himself, shy and untalkative. I liked him very much and I THINK he liked me a lot too! I have to say I THINK he was quite fond of me; I wasn’t really SURE because we never really communicated very much. We hardly ever spoke together about anything other than the time of day or what we were doing or where we were going or about college. We never had any really deep conversations or talked about matters of the heart at all!

“I didn’t realise that this was a problem until finally I began developing rather serious feelings about him! He had gotten to the final year of his studies without getting married or too involved with anybody, and I THINK he was really shy and scared of getting too serious. So he started to cool things off, and this broke my little heart! I then started thinking and praying about what went wrong, and it finally dawned on me that I didn’t really know what HE thought about our relationship, and HE didn’t know what I thought! That’s when I realised that during the entire time we had been together, we hadn’t had any kind of deep heart-to-heart communication at all!

“After we had broken up, I was still wondering why, and I thought, ‘Why didn’t I ASK him? Why didn’t we just honestly TALK about the things we felt and thought?’ If we HAD, it would have been so simple and prevented the whole problem of me not understanding and not knowing his feelings and him not knowing mine! It was just RIDICULOUS to be that close to someone and still know hardly a thing about what they felt and what they thought!

“So, I learned a good lesson! I learned to ASK! And I learned the importance of honest, open, humble communication. I learned the importance of ASKING when I don’t understand things, and trying to get the OTHER person to be honest and express what he feels and thinks, and that I need to be honest about MY feelings too!” So writes the author of “The Importance of Good Communications!”

 
WHY DO SOME PEOPLE KEEP THEMSELVES TO THEMSELVES?

Why is it that my friend found it so difficult to communicate? Why do some people keep a curtain over their mind and heart, so that others cannot even catch a glimpse of their innermost thoughts and feelings? There are a number of different reasons:

Some people are brought up from childhood to believe that it’s a sign of WEAKNESS to show your emotions, or to talk too much about your feelings. They are suffering from the classic British condition of “the stiff upper lip”! Consequently, they have never developed the ability to talk meaningfully with another person. They have never learned how to share openly with someone else and they have difficulty finding the words to say.

Others are fearful of exposing what they feel or think. They do not want to run the risk of being rejected or hurt if someone else disagrees with them.

Others have the attitude that talking won’t do any good, so why bother? They may have tried at some point to get through to another person, and it didn’t work, so they stopped trying altogether.

Some people do not believe that they, as a person, have anything to offer. They do not think that their ideas are worthwhile. They have a low opinion of themselves, and as a result, they withhold their comments and personal feelings.

Hangups and fears such as these keep us at a shallow level of communication. But if we can be freed from these negative and restrictive attitudes, then we can move to deeper, more meaningful levels. There are many different levels of communication between people, ranging from shallow cliches and chit-chat to deep personal honesty and baring of the soul.

 
LEVELS OF COMMUNICATION:

TALKING IN CLICHES is the most common type of communication between people. This type of talk is very safe! We exchange niceties such as, “How are you?”, “How is your family?”, “Where have you been?”, “I like your dress!” etc. In this type of conversation there is no personal sharing. Each person can remain safely hidden behind his screen.

Then there’s the type of conversation in which we simply REPORT FACTS. In this kind of conversation we share gossip and the news of the day, but we don’t commit ourselves as to how we FEEL about them.

“Did you hear about Joy? She’s pregnant again.”

“Really? That reminds me. I think the cat is about to have her kittens.”

But REAL communication begins when we’re willing to step out of our solitary confinement and risk telling others of our IDEAS AND DECISIONS and how we FEEL about them! If a person is to really SHARE himself with another individual, then he must get to the level of SHARING HIS PERSONAL FEELINGS. Sharing heart-to-heart, and not just superficially, helps draw people closer together, and makes us more honest and humble. All deep relationships, especially marriages, must be based on this kind of openness and honesty in order to succeed and grow.

“I really have something on my mind that I need to talk to you about, John!”

“Sure! Let’s go for a little walk together! I always appreciate these times when we can share heart-to-heart.”

 
HOW TO HELP OTHERS OPEN UP MORE!

Most people who are very quiet and withdrawn don’t really want to be that way. They know they NEED to be freer and they don’t really WANT to stay behind their walls, but they need SOMEBODY to be LOVING and UNDERSTANDING enough to help pull it OUT of them. If you’re INTERESTED in people and you LOVE them, then YOU need to learn how to get them to come OUT of themselves and try to respond and to communicate. (Proverbs 20:5; Isaiah 50:4a)

One way to do this is to gently probe and ask specific QUESTIONS. “Well, what do you mean by that? Could you explain that to me?” And if they were to say, “Well, I’d like to but I don’t want to get involved”, you could ask something like, “Well, WHY don’t you want to get involved?” With most people, if you really probe and question and really press them, then usually they’ll eventually come out of themselves and be more specific because they WANT to. They just NEED HELP!

 
THE “SILENT SUFFERERS”:

There are also the “silent sufferers”! Those who hold their feelings and emotions in and suffer in silence because they don’t expect that others would want to listen to all their problems and woes! To suffer in silence is, in a way, admirable, that they are able to take it and suffer on their own. But wouldn’t it be better if they would just honestly ASK for HELP and PRAYER? When you’re suffering in silence, it just makes everybody miserable, because they can usually sense that you’re suffering and that something is wrong, and they become worried about you. They don’t know if you’re upset or angry at them or sick or what! Granted, in some cases it is better to BEAR troubles rather than BARE them! (Galatians 6:5). But in MOST cases, it’s much more healthy just to let it all spill out and let others help you! (Galatians 6:2; James 5:16) It prevents a lot of misunderstandings and gets you some PRAYER and SYMPATHY and all the things that you need and would probably like to have when you’re feeling down! (Proverbs 12:25; 27:9)

In fact, lots of times it really helps to talk about the things you’re going through, even if the person you’re talking to DOESN’T have any solution! Often a person will say, “Oh, it just really helped to talk about it, just to get it sorted out in my mind”. Of course, for a Christian, one of the MAIN benefits of sharing your heart with others is that you can ask them to PRAY with you. You can ask for prayer, and that does a LOT of good! “One can chase a thousand, and two can put ten thousand to flight!” (Deuteronomy 32:30)

 
COMMUNICATION WITH GOD:

One thing that is sure to help our communication with others is if we have good communication with GOD. What kind of level do we communicate with JESUS on? Do we strip away all cover-ups and honestly lay our hearts bare before Him? Or are we like the native woman with the bundle of dirty washing? She had taken it to the riverside with the purpose of washing it, but was ashamed to open it for fear someone would see how dirty it was! So she just plunged the whole bundle into the water, joggled it up and down several times, and then took it home. Wet, but still dirty!

Are we ashamed to bare our hearts before the Lord and others, for fear that they will see what a mess we are? Jesus knows our hearts, He knows our faults and weaknesses and He loves us UNCONDITIONALLY the way we ARE, and not the way WE think we OUGHT to be. (Psalm 139:4) He’s just waiting for us to open our hearts to Him so that He can “forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1John 1:9)

As we surrender and open up our lives to JESUS and tell Him everything on our hearts, we will find it easier to open up to OTHERS! When we KNOW that Jesus accepts and loves us in spite of OUR failures and defects, then this helps us to accept and love and have compassion on OTHERS. This then leads to a desire and a willingness to lend them a sympathetic ear and to want to share our hearts with them and give them the same answers that WE have found in JESUS!

So if you have problems and you have something on your heart, get it out in the open! Talk about it with someone you love and trust! You’ll never have any chance of dealing with the matter unless you get it OUT! There would be far fewer misunderstandings in the World if people would just honestly and openly communicate with one another and be more open about themselves! It may be a little difficult at first, but if you work at it, it becomes much easier! The Lord always seems to bless HONESTY and GOOD COMMUNICATION! And maybe He wants to bless YOU for it too! Why don’t you TRY it and see?

 
 

Treasures. Copyright (c) The Family International

Jesus?–Or Marx?

Which Will YOU Choose?!

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Most people today have heard or read something about the horrific bloodbaths, “purges” and “liquidation of counter-revolutionaries” that took place in Russia and China when Communism first rose to power in those lands. If not, they probably have some knowledge of the more recent “Cultural Revolution” that devastated China in the 60s, or Pol Pot's maniacal massacre of one-third of the population of Kampuchea in the70s.

But despite the incredibly ruthless and monstrous MURDER of literally TENS OF MILLIONS of fellow human beings by Communist regimes, Communist IDEOLOGY continues to spread and lure new followers into the Red fold. The basis of all Communist theory and doctrine is found in the writings of its founding father, KARL MARX.

When encountering or considering Communist ideology, a fundamental question that arises for a Christian is: How do the teachings of MARX compare with those of JESUS? Are they compatible? A brief look at some of the basic beliefs of these two creeds, Christianity & Marxism, makes the answer evident:

Jesus said, “I am the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE! No man can come to the Father but by ME!” (John 14:6). He also said, “GOD’S WORD IS TRUTH, and the TRUTH shall make you FREE!” (John 17:17; 8:31,32).

In his “Communist Manifesto”, Marx boasted, “Communism ABOLISHES eternal truths! It ABOLISHES all RELIGION and all MORALITY!”

Here we have two very conflicting statements, and only ONE can be RIGHT. Has JESUS, Who claimed to be “the Truth”, been ABOLISHED by Communism? Or is the Word of God dead since the rise of Marxism? NO, of course not! Even behind the so-called “Iron Curtain” and “Bamboo Curtain”, literally MILLIONS of genuine Christians continue to THRIVE despite all that the Red regimes under which they live have done to try to suppress and eliminate them! JESUS and His TRUTH live on TODAY! While MARX is long DEAD and GONE to meet his fate in the fires of HELL!

The Bible says that JESUS is “the CORNERSTONE, the FOUNDATION Stone of His true Church, and whoever trusts in Him will never be put to shame!” (1Peter 2:6-8; 1Corinthi ans 3:11).

Marx wrote, “I HATE all GODS! The very IDEA of God is the KEYSTONE of a PERVERTED civilisation. It MUST be DESTROYED!” –

The “Keystone” which Marx despised and longed to destroy is Jesus Himself. And HE can NEVER be destroyed! In fact, according to the Bible, He will soon return to take over this World. His Second Coming was symbolically foreseen by one of the prophets as a great STONE falling from Heaven, that will SMITE the final One-World Red Regime that is now rising to power, “breaking it in pieces and destroying Man’s kingdoms as the God of Heaven sets up HIS Kingdom which shall NEVER be destroyed!” (Daniel 2:44,45).

Jesus promised genuine lasting HAPPINESS to all who would follow Him and His teachings, saying, “I have given you My WORDS so that My JOY might remain in you and that YOUR JOY might be FULL! For if ye know My teachings, you will be HAPPY if you DO them!” (John 15:11; 13:17).

Marx said just the opposite: “To achieve the REAL happiness of the people, it is necessary to ABOLISH the false RELIGIOUS one! The first step in this direction must be an ATTACK on RELIGION!”

This anti-God basis of Marxism explains why every Marxist regime that has ever come to power ultimately turns against the worshippers of God, resulting in the cruel and ruthless repression, imprisonment, torture and slaughter of literally TENS OF MILLIONS of innocent believers in God throughout the Communist World! People whose only crime was their refusal to renounce their faith in order to embrace so-called “Marxism”!

Without the LORD and His LOVE, there can be no “REAL happiness of the people” that Marx vainly theorised about. Besides, if COMMUNISM offers such “real happiness”, why then did the East Germans and the Russians find it necessary to build the infamous “BERLIN WALL” to imprison their people and keep them from fleeing to the so-called “decadent West”? And why have literally TENS OF THOUSANDS of pitiful “BOAT PEOPLE” desperately risked life and limb in order to FLEE their so-called “liberated” countries in Southeast Asia?

God’s Word says that, “The FOOL has said in his HEART, `There is NO GOD’!” (Psalm 14:1). Although Communism claims to hold no belief in God, and a lot of so-called atheists say with their MOUTH that “there is no God”, only an absolute IDIOT, an IMBECILE, a real FOOL, believes in his HEART that there is no Creator behind the great Universe in which we live!

Marx, who was no fool, knew that God was real, but he HATED Him, REBELLED against Him, and was determined to destroy His influence and power over people! Here are Marx’s own words: “I wish to AVENGE myself against the One Who rules above!”

In an unusually candid verse of rhyme, Marx wrote:

“Heaven I FORFEITED,
I know it full well.
My soul, once true to God,
I’ve chosen to HELL!”

Jesus said that God’s GREATEST commandment to Man is to, “LOVE GOD with all your heart, and to LOVE your NEIGHBOUR as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39). Marx and his followers proclaimed and practiced just the OPPOSITE!

A close friend and comrade of Marx, Matzini, wrote, “Karl Marx had a DESTRUCTIVE SPIRIT. His heart burst with HATRED rather than with love towards his fellow man!”

Marx’s dedicated disciple, Vladimir Lenin, the man who led Russia’s Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 and established the World’s first Marxist regime, held the same kind of hatred for God and faith as did his mentor, Marx. Lenin said, “RELIGION is the OPIUM of the people! A kind of spiritual GIN, in which the slaves of Capitalism drown their claim to any decent human life. ATHEISM is a NATURAL and INSEPARABLE part of MARXISM!”

Jesus lived and taught LOVE: “THIS is My commandment, that you LOVE one another! By THIS shall all men know that you are MY followers, if you have LOVE one for another!” (John 15:12; 13:35).

Lenin wrote, “WE must HATE! HATRED is the BASIS of COMMUNISM! Children must be taught to HATE their parents if they are CHRISTIANS!”

The Bible tells us that, “GOD is LOVE”, and that “to know Jesus Christ, Whom God has sent, is ETERNAL LIFE.” (1John 4:8; John 17:3). To the believer, the greatest, most wonderful experience we can have is to find and know the Lord and His Love, and to share His wonderful Love and Gift of Salvation with others.

But Lenin tells us, “EVERY religious idea, every FLIRTATION even with the IDEA of God, is UNSPEAKABLE VILENESS! Any person who even TOLERATES the IDEA of God DEGRADES himself in the WORST possible fashion!” Which again explains why every “dictatorship of the proletariat” throughout the World SUPPRESSES and PERSECUTES true Christians! The perverted, hateful and anti-God founding fathers of Communism taught their followers to view even the IDEA of God’s Love and the hope of Eternal Life as “UNUTTERABLE VILENESS”!

Although many Communists today may SAY that they are liberal-minded, and now take a more charitable, “enlightened” and tolerant view of Christianity, their actions have repeatedly proved them to be as anti-Christ as ever! Harlan Popov, a renowned pastor who spent 13 years in concentration camps in Bulgaria rather than renounce Christ to the godless authorities, warned in his book, “Tortured for His Faith”:

“The Communists when OUT of power purposely seem CONGENIAL, COOPERATIVE and MILD. But let them come to power and their TRUE nature will be revealed! The prisons of Eastern Europe were FULL of men who thought the Communists were just ‘another political party’ and tolerated them, and were subsequently imprisoned and executed. Let the World BEWARE!”

The former leader of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev, said, “If anyone believes our SMILES involve ABANDONMENT of the teachings of Marx, Engels and Lenin, he DECEIVES himself. Those who wait for that must wait until a shrimp learns to whistle!”

No less than POPE PIUS XI warned, “The Communists frequently encourage the FALSE belief that Communism, in countries where faith and culture are more strongly entrenched, will assume a much MILDER form when it comes to power, that it will not interfere with the practice of religion, that it will respect liberty of conscience.

“See to it, Brethren, that the faithful do NOT allow themselves to be DECEIVED! Communism is intrinsically WRONG, and NO ONE who would save CHRISTIAN civilisation may collaborate with it in ANY undertaking WHATSOEVER! Those who permit themselves to be deceived into lending their aid toward the triumph of Communism will be the FIRST to fall VICTIMS of their error!”

The glaring contradictions between true CHRISTIANITY and the atheism of anti-God COMMUNISM are so apparent, that any thinking person must wonder how a sincere Christian could possibly TOLERATE–much less openly SUPPORT–such an anti-Christ and godless System! The Bible tells us, “Have NO FELLOWSHIP with the UNFRUITFUL works of DARKNESS, but rather EXPOSE them!” (Ephesians 5:11).

“CHOOSE this day whom YOU will serve! If the LORD be GOD, then serve HIM! If BAAL (Satan and anti-God Communism) be your god, then serve HIM! As for ME and MY house, WE shall serve the LORD!” (Joshua 24:15; 1Kings 18:21).

How about YOU?!

 

 

Treasures. Copyright (c) The Family International

Foolishness!–Not a Laughing Matter!

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  1. Foolishness, at best, is a sort of casual joking around and just generally acting silly. It can seem harmless and innocent, just a way of letting off steam, but it often leads to ridiculous and thoughtless, absurd behavior. People caught up in a foolish spirit will often do or say just about anything to get attention or to make others laugh, including even mischievous pranks and harmful acts. “It is as SPORT (fun) for a fool to do MISCHIEF.” (Proverbs 10:23).
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  3. “A fool is consumed by his own lips. At the BEGINNING his words are foolishness, and the END of his talk is MISCHIEVOUS MADNESS. A fool is FULL of words.” (Ecclesiastes 10:12-14).
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  5. The Bible says, “The mouth of fools pours out foolishness.” (Proverbs 15:2). In light of the meaning of the original Hebrew words for “fool” and “foolishness”, this LITERALLY means the mouth of the heedless, witless, self-confident, empty, thick-headed, unintelligent, unwise, thoughtless, rebellious person pours out folly, senselessness, emptiness, boasting and insipid things! As you can see, for a Christian, foolishness is not a laughing matter!
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  7. There is a great difference between having a sense of humor and being foolish. A good sense of humor is a great asset in life. But excessive foolishness is a problem which needs to be overcome through prayer and a serious study of God’s Word.
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  9. Foolishness is a way the Devil frequently tries to get his little wedge of sin into our lives: At first foolish behavior starts off by just being funny and comical, even entertaining and amusing, and seemingly harmless. But if it continues, it usually ends up becoming what the Bible calls “vain and profane babbling, which increases unto more and more UNGODLINESS!” (2Timothy 2:16,17).
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  11. Foolish chatter often leads to exaggerations, distortions of the truth and outright lies and deceptions. Something may seem to be just a harmless prank done “in fun”, but the Bible says, “Like a MADMAN shooting FIREBRANDS or DEADLY ARROWS, so is a man who deceives his neighbour and says, `I was only JOKING!'” (Proverbs 26:18,19).
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  13. “The foolishness of a man perverts his life.” (Proverbs 19:3).
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  15. Idle, empty, directionless conversation is an opportunity for the Devil to get us off guard so that he can get in and cause us to say unwise and unloving things! That’s why Jesus warned His disciples, saying, “But I say to you that of every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give ACCOUNT in the day of judgement. For by your WORDS you shall be JUSTIFIED and by your WORDS you shall be CONDEMNED!” (Matthew 12:36,37).
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  17. Your life is bound to affect others! “None of us lives to himself alone.” (Romans 14:7). Everybody is influencing somebody: Sometimes just a word or a glance or a smile, or a lack of one, can make a great difference.
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  19. Remember, words are real things; they bless or they curse, they lift up or they knock down, they save or they damn! “Whosoever keeps his mouth and his tongue (quiet), keeps his soul from troubles.” (Proverbs 21:23).
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  21. The World tries to drown itself in pleasure, entertainment and amusement, and people spend countless hours watching silly movies and foolish, pointless TV programs, or reading empty, frothy stories, or listening to their stereos at full-blast to drown out the things they OUGHT to be thinking ABOUT! While we do need time to relax and get away from serious problems and strenuous work, too much so-called “light entertainment” can become the Devil’s distraction and diversion to drown out the voice of God!
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  23. As little time as most of us have in our busy schedules to pray, read God’s Word and share His Love with others, it’s a real shame to waste our free moments by indulging in superficial chatter, joking and foolishness.
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  25. Some people’s mouths are like a hole in a bucket. The minute they open their mouths, everything in their head runs out! “The tongue of the wise uses knowledge correctly, but the mouth of fools pours out foolishness!” (Proverbs 15:2).
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  27. When you don’t have the wisdom of God’s Spirit helping you, then you can be awfully dumb!
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  29. Foolish talking has become a modern day pastime for intellectuals; it’s the kind of thing that becomes an egotistical display of Worldly “smartness”, as well as a bad habit which is extremely difficult to break. It is also often laced with sarcasm and cynicism, which when mixed together with ridicule and criticism of others, results in hurt feelings and strife.
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  31. If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing!
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  33. “He that walks with wise men shall be wise, but the companion of fools shall be destroyed! Therefore go from the presence of a foolish man when you do not find lips of knowledge in him!” (Proverbs 13:20;14:7).
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  35. It is a very poor example or witness for God’s children to be silly and to act and talk silly and be guilty of foolishness!
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  37. “The thought of FOOLISHNESS is SIN.” (Proverbs 24:9).
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  39. Shallowness, superficiality, manpleasing and hypocrisy are all that many people in the World know. Many people are so thankful when they can find an opportunity to meet someone serious and concerned, with whom they can share their deepest thoughts and feelings or even their fears. Underneath the foolish false fronts and cover-ups, most hearts long for true love, deeper communication and real understanding.
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  41. Worldliness and foolishness are almost one and the same thing. The “wisdom of this World IS foolishness with God! For the Lord knoweth the thoughts of the Worldly wise, that they are vain!” (1Corinthians 3:19-20).
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  43. You cannot fill your eyes and ears and mind with Worldly wisdom, the foolishness of Man, without it affecting your heart and spirit in a negative way! So be careful what you read and watch on TV and what you talk about to others!
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  45. The best solution and cure for foolishness is to read and live in the Word of God. Jesus said “The Words that I speak unto you, they are SPIRIT and they are LIFE!” (John 6:63). If you take a little time every day to fill up your mind and heart with the life-giving, inspiring, faith-building Word of God, it will permeate your heart and spirit and manifest itself in your thoughts, your life and your conversation.
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  47. “Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather giving of thanks.” (Ephesians 5:4).
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  49. It is dangerous for Christians to be shallow, not deep in the Lord, not deep in the Spirit, but shallow in the flesh, carnal in their understanding and carnally minded.
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  51. “FORSAKE the foolish and LIVE, and go in the way of understanding!” (Proverbs 9:6).
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  53. Familiarity breeds contempt.
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  55. “Folly is joy unto him that is without wisdom, but a man with understanding keeps a straight course.” (Proverbs 15:21).
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  57. Empty vessels make the most noise! “A fool’s voice is known by the multitude of his words.” (Ecclesiastes 5:3).
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  59. “As dead flies cause the ointment of the perfumer to send forth a foul odor, so does a little folly in him who has a reputation for wisdom and honor!” (Ecclesiastes 10:1).
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  61. Ask God to help you to know when to laugh, and when to be sober, and how to know the difference! Ask God to help you to be temperate in all things, and be well-balanced between the two! “Let your moderation be known unto all men.” (Philippians 4:5). Don’t be too sober, or too silly, either one. “There is a time for everything, a time to weep and a time to laugh.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1,4).
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  63. The Bible says, “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child (in other words, the child’s heart is full of foolishness) but the rod of correction will drive it far from him.” (Proverbs 22:15). Sometimes you need to use firm discipline to teach children not to be foolish. Likewise the LORD often has to use HIS rod of chastisement to drive foolishness from ADULTS!
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  65. It can be DANGEROUS to have people around you that are shallow and thoughtless and who are not in tune with the Lord!
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  67. “Forsake the foolish and you will live, and walk in the ways of understanding.” (Proverbs 9:6).
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  69. Lord Jesus, please deliver us from sickening shallowness and froth and waste and garbage, that contains no real substance, no meaning, message, no real value, and that bears no good fruit!

 
 

Treasures. Copyright (c) The Family International

The Argument Against Arguments!

Compiled from the writings of David Brandt Berg

free-bible-studies-online-the-argument-against-arguments

 
A boy once asked his father, “Dad, how do wars begin?”

“Well, take the First World War,” said his father. “That got started when Germany invaded Belgium.”

Immediately his wife interrupted him, “Tell the boy the truth! It began because somebody was assassinated!”

The husband drew himself up with an air of superiority and snapped back, “Are you answering the question or am I?”

Turning her back upon him in a huff, the wife stormed out the room and slammed the door as hard as she could! When the dishes stopped rattling in the cupboard an uneasy silence followed, broken at length by the boy: “Daddy, you don’t have to tell me how wars begin; I KNOW now!”

Arguing! We all do it sometimes! We all know what it is to walk away from an argument with the mouth dry, tummy in a knot, head hot and spinning, and heart sick–wishing that it had never happened, deeply regretting the unkind words that were said! Believe it or not, more homes are destroyed by arguments than by fires or funerals!

We all know that arguing for the sake of arguing is a pointless waste of time! We have absolutely NOTHING to gain, and our time, energy and someone’s friendship to LOSE! It’s said that the only people who really LISTEN to an argument are the neighbors! What do you get out of an argument? Exactly what you put into it–a lot of hot air! So what can we do to avoid them? Or, once an argument has started, what can we do to stop it? Or if already over, what can we do to make amends? We’re going to explore these questions!

 
THE BENEFITS OF NOT ARGUING!

Some people love to argue, and will do anything to prove a point! They’d rather lose a friend than an argument! For others, arguing has become a HABIT, an automatic reaction of saying something contradictory to whatever is being said!

One compulsive arguer was the early American statesman, philosopher and author, Benjamin Franklin. As a youth he loved nothing more than a good argument until a close friend took him aside and said, “Ben, you are impossible! Your opinions have a slap in them for everyone who differs with you! Your friends enjoy themselves better when you are not around! You think you KNOW so much that no one can TELL you anything. Indeed, no one is going to try, for the effort would only lead to discomfort and hard work! So you are not likely ever to know any more than you do now–which is actually very LITTLE!”

Ben Franklin was BIG enough and WISE enough to accept these stinging truths, and to realise that he was headed for failure and social disaster! So he immediately began to change his bigoted, argumentative ways! He became one of the best loved, wisest and most diplomatic men in American history, and was actually remembered for saying:

“If you argue and rankle and contradict, you may achieve a victory sometimes. But it will be an empty victory, because you will never get your opponent’s good will!”

 
YOU CAN’T WIN AN ARGUMENT!

NO ONE ever really wins an argument! You can shout and scream and argue until you’re blue in the face, but people are not going to believe that you are right unless they WANT to believe it! And even if they would LIKE to agree with you, your tone may have put them so much on the defensive that it would be like an utter humiliation, defeat on the battlefield, for them to confess you’re right or even partly right! And remember, no amount of logic or argument will make anyone change his mind if he doesn’t want to! Nine times out of ten, an argument ends with each side more firmly convinced than ever that he is absolutely right!

You can’t win an argument, because if you lose it, you lose it!–And if you WIN it, you LOSE it! Why? Well, suppose you triumph over the other person and shoot his argument full of holes and prove that he’s an absolute idiot. Then what? You’ll feel fine, smug and satisfied. But what about him? You’ll have made him feel inferior. You’ve hurt his pride. He may resent your triumph, and–“A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still!”

The “Boston Transcript” once printed this little poem:

“Here lies the body of William Jay,
Who died maintaining his right of way!
He was right, dead right, as he sped along,
But he’s just as dead as if he were wrong!”

You may be right, dead right, as you speed along in your argument, but as far as changing someone else’s mind, it will probably be just as futile as if you were wrong! So which would you rather have?–An academic, theoretical victory or a person’s good will? You can seldom have both!

 
HOW TO WIN PEOPLE TO YOUR WAY OF THINKING WITHOUT HAVING AN ARGUMENT!

In Aesop’s fables there’s a story about the sun and the wind. In the story the argumentative wind boasted to the sun that he was the stronger. The sun maintained that he was. So the wind said, “I’ll prove I am! See the old man down there with the coat? I’ll bet I can get his coat off of him quicker than you can!”

So the sun went behind a cloud, and the wind blew and blew until it was almost a tornado! But the HARDER it blew, the TIGHTER the old man clutched his coat to him! Finally the wind calmed down and gave up!

Then the sun came out from behind the cloud and SMILED KINDLY on the old man! And after awhile he mopped his brow and pulled off his coat! The sun had shown the wind that GENTLENESS and FRIENDLINESS are stronger than FURY and FORCE!

So, scolding parents, domineering bosses, husbands and nagging wives ought to realise that people usually don’t want to change their minds! They can’t be FORCED or driven to agree! But they may possibly be LED to, if we are gentle and friendly! Showing love and consideration can make people change their minds far more easily than all the bluster and storming in the World! The best way to get somebody to do something is by making them WANT to do it!

In his famous book “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, Dale Carnegie tells this story: “Years ago Patrick J. O’Haire joined one of my classes. He had little education, and how he loved a scrap! He came to me because he had been trying, without much success, to sell trucks. A little questioning brought out the fact that he was continually scrapping with and antagonising the very people he was trying to do business with. If a person said anything derogatory about the trucks he was selling, Pat saw red and was right at the customer’s throat. Pat “won” a lot of arguments in those days. As he said to me afterward, `I often walked out of an office saying, I told that bird something. Sure, I had told him something, but I hadn’t sold him anything.’

“My first problem was not to teach Patrick J. O’Haire to talk. My immediate task was to train him to REFRAIN from talking and to avoid verbal fights.

“Mr. O’Haire eventually became a star salesmen for the White Motor Company in New York. How did he do it?–Here is his story: If I walk into a buyer’s office now & he says, What? A White truck? They’re no good! I wouldn’t take one of those if you gave it to me. I’m going to buy the Whose-It truck.’ I say, `The Whose-It is a good truck. If you buy the Whose-It, you’ll never make a mistake. The Whose-Its are made by a fine company and sold by good people.’

“He is speechless then. There is no room for argument. If he says the Whose-It is best and I say sure it is, he has to stop. He can’t keep on saying, It’s the best’, when I’m agreeing with him. We then get off the subject of Whose-It and I begin to talk about the good points of the White truck.

“`Before, a remark like his first one would have made me see scarlet and red and orange. I would start arguing against the Whose-It; and the more I argued against it, the more my customer argued in favor of it; and the more he argued, the more he sold himself on my competitor’s product.

“`As I look back now, I wonder how I was ever able to sell anything. I lost years of my life in scrapping and arguing. I keep my mouth shut now. It pays.'” So remember that if you want to convert someone to your way of thinking: Obnoxious arguing will often make the other person cling more firmly to his old position. You must first be willing to LISTEN to him and try to understand HIS point of view, before he will consider listening to YOURS! Then you must indirectly guide him towards discovering your point of view, rather than taking a bossy “THAT’S the way it is, take it or leave it” approach! As the great French mathematician, writer and Christian, Blaise Pascal, pointed out, “People are usually more convinced by reasons they discover themselves, than by those found by others!”

 
11 WAYS HOW NOT TO START AN ARGUMENT!

“Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.”
–Proverbs 17:14

It’s been said that there’s only one way to get the best of an argument–to AVOID it! But how? How can we ensure that we ourselves are not the instigators of any unnecessary disputes?

(1) REALISE THAT YOU MAY NOT ALWAYS BE RIGHT. It’s POSSIBLE you might be wrong! Remember, there are three sides to every story!–YOUR side, MY side, and the whole TRUTH!–Which neither you nor I may FULLY see! As the Apostle Paul said, “We know that we ALL have knowledge. But knowledge (merely) puffs up, while love edifies. And if any man THINKS that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he OUGHT to know.” (1Corinthians 8:1-2).

(2) ADMIT VERBALLY AT THE START THAT YOU DON’T KNOW EVERYTHING AND MAY BE WRONG! That’s one sure way to avoid an argument and inspire the other fellow to be just as fair and open and broad-minded as you are! It will make him want to admit that he, too, may be wrong! Jesus said, “Agree with thine adversary quickly.” (Matthew 5:25). In other words, don’t argue needlessly! Use a little LOVE and consideration and diplomacy!

So if someone makes a statement that you think is wrong–even that you KNOW is wrong–isn’t it better to begin by saying, “Well, now, look! I thought otherwise, but I am often wrong.–And if I’m wrong, I want to be put right. Let’s examine the facts.” No one in the whole wide World will ever object to your saying a magic phrase like, “I may be wrong. Let’s examine the facts!”

(3) NEVER TELL A PERSON STRAIGHT OUT YOU DON’T AGREE WITH HIM. Instead say, “Do you think it might be better done this way?” “Do you feel this would save you more time?” This way you’re telling a person in a COURTEOUS way what you think, and at the same time asking him to respond with his opinion or idea! Try it! It gets much better results than saying, “Do it THIS way, period!”

(4) SHOW RESPECT FOR THE OTHER PERSON’S OPINIONS. Try to see his point of view and understand his reasons for the views he holds! Never just bluntly, flat-out tell a man, “You’re wrong!”–And you can tell people that they are wrong by a look or an intonation or a gesture just as emphatically as you can in words. And if you tell them that they are wrong, do you make them want to agree with you? No! For you have struck a direct blow at their judgement, their pride and their self-respect! That will make them want to strike back. But it will never make them want to change their minds! As Lord Chesterfield said to his son, “Be wiser than other people, if you can. But do not tell THEM that you are!”

(5) NEVER BEGIN A DISCUSSION BY ANNOUNCING, “I’M GOING TO PROVE SO-AND-SO TO YOU.” That’s the same as saying, “I’M smarter than you are! I’m going to tell you a thing or two and make you change your mind!” That is a challenge. That arouses opposition and makes the listener want to battle with you before you even start! You can avoid arguments by not embarrassing people or belittling people, and always letting them have the benefit of the doubt!

(6) AVOID ARGUMENT-STARTING WORDS! Stop using phrases such as: “Is that so?”-“That’s ridiculous!”–“You and who else?”-“That’s a lot of baloney!”–“Where did you get that crazy idea?”

Any such expressions BEG for an argument! Cut them from your vocabulary, and you’ll cut down the time you spend arguing if you do! “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1).

(7) AVOID SWEEPING GENERALIZATIONS such as: “You’re never on time!”–“You always say things like that!”–“All women are emotional!”–“All men are like that!”–“Everyone thinks you are that way, and so do I!”

(8) DON’T EXAGGERATE OR INSINUATE! “Speak the truth in love.” (Ephesians 4:15). It pays to PRAY before you SAY! If you don’t say it, you won’t have to UNSAY it!

(9) AVOID FRIVOLOUS TALK ABOUT SENSITIVE SUBJECTS. If you voice unnecessary opinions to others who don’t have similar views, it’s a sure way to start an argument!

(10) NEVER TELL SOMEONE, “YOU SHOULD NOT FEEL THAT WAY!” Everyone has feelings that are uniquely their own, and they DO feel that way, or they wouldn’t have said it! Instead, ask them to tell you WHY they feel the way they do, or simply say, “I understand.” This will avoid argument and keep the conversation rolling.

(11) A GOOD MOTTO TO AVOID STARTING AN ARGUMENT: “If I am wrong I will say so. I if I am right I will shut up!” There ARE, of course, matters that ARE important to set straight, but if you must point out someone’s error, make sure you do it in a humble, courteous spirit.

Also, right at that moment may not be the very best time to tell them. Wait until they are in a receptive frame of mind. “A fool utters all his mind (immediately), but a wise man keeps it in till AFTERWARDS.” (Proverbs 29:11). So be discerning and sensitive to others’ feelings! “A wise man’s heart discerns both TIME and JUDGMENT.” (Ecclesiastes 8:5).

 
7 WAYS HOW TO STOP THE OTHER PERSON ARGUING WITH YOU!

“As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.”
–Proverbs 26:21

When Voltaire arrived in England in 1727 he found the French were so unpopular, that he was in great danger when he walked the streets of London! One day during a walk, a crowd of angry citizens shouted, “Kill him! Hang the Frenchman!” Voltaire stopped, faced the furious crowd and cried, “My friends, have mercy! Am I not punished enough that I was not born an Englishman!” The crowd cheered wildly, and gave him safe escort back to his hotel!

(1) REMEMBER, IT TAKES TWO TO MAKE AN ARGUMENT! Never answer an angry word WITH an angry word. It’s the SECOND one that produces a quarrel! As they say, “It takes two to tango!” Refuse to involve yourself in the games of the critic, moralist, cynic or whoever tries to needlessly waste your time and energy in an argument! Some people get in the hottest arguments about the smallest trivial things! But it takes TWO people to play these games, and if you refuse to play the role, they have no one to argue with!

(2) STAY OUT OF SUCH CONVERSATIONS AS: “No, I don’t!”–“Yes, you do!”–“No, I don’t!” Remember the proverb, “When an argument flares up, the wise man quenches it with silence!”

(3) MAKE DELAY YOUR FIRST STRATEGY FOR AVOIDING A POTENTIAL CONFLICT. The first thing to do when someone acts negatively toward you or gets angry is to keep your cool! The best initial reaction you can give is to ask the other person what he means. You may not have heard or understood him correctly. Then, if you decide that you are indeed being attacked, ask yourself these questions: “Is it really in my own best interests to answer tit for tat? Is getting angry the most effective thing I can do? What will my anger accomplish?” If you take time to think and pray about a situation BEFORE you react to it, you will avoid many unnecessary skirmishes! “A man’s wisdom postpones his anger; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.” (Proverbs 19:11).

(4) FORM THE HABIT OF CLOSING YOUR MOUTH WHEN ANGRY. “Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silence, & discerning if he holds his tongue.” (Proverbs 17:28). The best thing you can do is to listen. Then ask questions, so you can find out what the other person’s view is before replying. If you tell him what you think first and give him your opinion, you may suddenly find yourself at odds with him, and lose all possibilities of getting your point across! Give the other person a chance to talk, and let him finish. Don’t interrupt! Don’t start resisting, defending or debating. This only raises barriers! Try to build bridges of understanding!

(5) BE ENDLESSLY PATIENT WHEN FACED WITH AN ARGUMENT. Keep your emotions and impulses firmly under control! Control your temper. Remember, you can measure the size of a person by what makes him angry! “A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel.” (Proverbs 15:18).

(6) WHEN ANOTHER PERSON IS ANGRY, THE WORSE THING YOU CAN DO IS TO SAY, “Now don’t get angry!” When you say this, it has just the OPPOSITE effect! Instead, try saying as gently as you can, “I’m sorry, something is making you angry? If it’s me, I apologise! What can I do to help?”

(7) REMEMBER ALSO THAT OUR SPIRITS ARE CONTAGIOUS! If we show the right spirit and the right attitude–peaceful, trusting, patient and restful, full of faith–this is how OTHERS will react. But if we get flustered and impatient and ranting and raving and sharp-tempered and sharp-tongued, this is apt to be the same way that others will also answer us, sad to say!

 
HOW TO STOP AN ARGUMENT!–ONCE IT’S ALREADY STARTED!

What do you do if you find yourself caught up in an argument? How do you take control of a heated discussion that is fast flaring up into an all-out brawl? Here are some tried and proven ways:

Carl Rogers, the famous psychologist, suggested the following technique for resolving misunderstandings: “Before either person can make a point, he must first repeat the opinion of the OTHER person, to that person’s satisfaction. This rule forces each person to LISTEN to the other party and have to try to understand his point of view! The discussion then tends to become less EMOTIONAL and the opponents find themselves doing more THINKING and LISTENING! The more rational people become, the greater are the chances for an agreeable solution!”

STAY ON THE SUBJECT! Always try to discover exactly what you are arguing about and STAY on that subject! Don’t bring in matters that are irrelevant or unimportant. At times you may have to say something like, “Let’s stop this conversation and really see WHAT it is we’re arguing about. YOU start again, and I will listen. Perhaps I have misunderstood something!”

WATCH YOUR VOLUME! Most of us tend to raise our voices during serious discussions! When we do this, we are really saying, “I can’t get through to you in a normal voice because you seem to be deaf to what I say. So I will turn up the volume!” Raising our voice puts others on the defense and can even convey that we have lost control of our temper or the situation. DON’T USE CRITICISM TO BE A COMEDIAN! While it’s true that a joke or a dry remark might relieve the tension in some disagreements, it’s always best to use humor with care. Questions to ask yourself before using humor are: “Will this increase tension, or relieve it?”–“Can I laugh at myself, or am I just trying to poke fun at the other person?”–“Am I trying to win points for my side with cute remarks?” Never try to be funny by criticising someone else.

DON’T EXAGGERATE. It’s very tempting to add more weight to our point of view by altering the facts or “dressing them up a little bit.” This will only exasperate the situation and make matters worse!–Especially if the other person KNOWS you are exaggerating! Then they’ll be CONVINCED you’re wrong about everything!

ATTACK THE PROBLEM, NOT EACH OTHER! Do your best to keep the discussion impersonal. Try to attack the problem instead of attacking each other with innuendos, slurs and “smart” remarks.

EMPHASISE THINGS YOU AGREE ON! Don’t emphasise the things on which you differ! Keep emphasising that you are BOTH striving for the SAME end and your only difference is one of METHOD and NOT purpose! Dwell on the positive, not the negative! Discuss the things you have in COMMON, not just your differences, and try to establish as many points in common as possible instead of picking out the flaws! Get the other person agreeing and saying, “yes, yes”, and immediately he’ll find it much harder to say “no”!

BE WILLING TO COMPROMISE! One of the most important trips a man can make is to meet the other fellow half-way! When the conversation is deadlocked, see if you can change the subject, or find a different way to approach the problem. Perhaps a COMPROMISE would work that recognises all points of view, or a way that lets someone give in and change his opinion without losing face!

HAVE THE HUMILITY TO BACK DOWN, even if you still think you’re right and the other person is wrong. The famous Swiss reformer, Zwingli, learned a lesson along this line from two goats he saw making their way over a narrow path on a steep mountain in the Alps. One was ascending the trail, the other descending. Zwingli noticed that they must pass at a point where the trail was so narrow that there was room for only one goat.

The animals rounded a turn in the path which brought them in full view of each other. They backed up, as though ready to charge one another, and then the most amazing thing happened! The goat on the trail below knelt down in the path, while the goat above him walked over his back. The first animal then arose and continued his journey up the trail.

The noblest thing you can do in an argument is to have the humility to be the one to back down. Don’t be afraid to say something like, “Let’s stop, because I’m saying things I don’t really mean and I don’t want this to happen!” “It is to a man’s honor to cease from strife, but a fool can’t stop quarrelling.” (Proverbs 2O:3).

IF YOU’RE WRONG, ADMIT IT! Say something like, “You know, I do think I am to blame here. I’m sorry that I said that, and that I hurt you! What can I do now to make up for this?” When you honestly own up to knowing that you’re wrong, and that the other person is right, you improve communication a thousandfold and deepen your relationship with that person! Anyone can try to DEFEND his or her mistakes, but it takes Godly humility to ADMIT your mistakes, “to confess your faults one to another”! (James 5:16). And if the other person wants to let off a last bit of steam and continue to chide you for a little while more–as sometimes happens–humbly agree or restate your error or keep silence, whatever is appropriate.–“YIELDING pacifies (even) great anger” (Ecclesiastes 1O:4), and they’ll soon be won over and lose all their hard feelings towards you.

IF YOU FIND YOURSELF REFEREEING AN ARGUMENT, and you have to express an opinion, pray and think carefully, and before speaking ask yourself, “WHAT is right?”, not “WHO is right?” During the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln was asked whether he thought God was on his side. Lincoln replied that God was on the side of the right, and hopefully, so was the Union!

In almost every case, no side is always all right and the other all wrong. There’s almost always some good and bad on both sides!–But it takes wisdom, discernment and humility to be able to SEE that.

DON’T GET INVOLVED IN OTHER PEOPLE’S ARGUMENTS! Proverbs 26:17 says, “Like one who seizes a dog by the ears, so is a passer-by who meddles in a quarrel not his own!”

 
HOW TO MAKE UP AFTER AN ARGUMENT!

EVEN IF YOU WERE RIGHT, TAKE THE INITIATIVE TO FORGIVE AND FORGET! When it is appropriate, always ask for FORGIVENESS! In the Bible, we’re told to admit our faults to one another and pray for each other! (James 5:16). Also, when the OTHER person confesses THEIR faults and admits error, be sure to tell him or her of YOUR forgiveness! Proverbs 17:9 says, “He who covers over an offense, promotes love!”

NEVER HOLD GRUDGES! Colossians 3:13 says that we should “be gentle and ready to FORGIVE; never hold grudges”! Some people “bury the hatchet” but never forget where! If you find it hard to forgive, remind yourself that it takes a lot of energy to hold a grudge, and that there is great freedom in forgiveness.

YOU CAN SUGGEST THAT YOU PRAY TOGETHER AFTER AN ARGUMENT. It is hard to hold bad feelings about someone you pray with!

 
ARGUMENTS IN MARRIAGE!

To keep your marriage brimming
With love in the loving cup,
Whenever you’re wrong, admit it;
Whenever you’re right, shut up!
–Ogden Nash

Sadly, it’s human nature that we often hurt most the ones we love the most and are the closest to. People who are married often argue with their partner more than with anyone else! If you’re having problems with arguing in your marriage, then of course all the above pointers will apply. But here are some extra tips:

Opera tenor Jan Pierce, after being married nearly 50 years, said: “My wife and I made an agreement long ago, and we’ve kept it no matter how angry we’ve grown with each other! When one is letting off steam, the other should listen–because when two people are peeved and trying to get their point across at the same time, there is no communication, just noise and bad vibrations!”

Do not walk out in the middle of an argument. And, “never let the sun go down upon your wrath!”
–Ephesians 4:26

Continually remind yourself of all the positive things about your partner! List all of their good qualities, the reasons for which you married him/her in the first place. Then put the list in your wallet or purse and go over it every time you get irritated with him/her!

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything has any virtue or is praiseworthy–think about THESE things!”
–Philippians 4:8

One wife who admitted that she constantly criticised her husband and caused almost daily quarrels, gives this advice: “After praying that God would stop our arguing, He showed me that HE is the Author of my husband’s personality, and that what I viewed as faults are really the means God uses to make me cling closer to Him for solutions! Since then I’ve begun to trust God, through my prayers, that He is able to make any alterations to my husband if they are needed!”

If you have a major discussion on an important topic coming up, try to arrange a time and place where you won’t be interrupted.–For instance, after the children have gone to bed, and not during dinner.

Parents do not usually succeed in hiding disagreements and arguments from their children. Let them know that you do disagree sometimes and that all family members will have times of disagreement. But it’s nothing that can’t be resolved through quiet discussion and prayer. Keep in mind that your children will learn their pattern for disagreeing and arguing from you!

To have a few occasional personality clashes is understandable, but LOVE NEVER FAILS, and these should be healed through humility, love and the oil of God’s Spirit!

Marriage should be as equal as possible, and as sharing as possible. You should talk together, pray together, love together, discuss together and then decide and agree together! But when it comes to having the last word, if he’s a Christian and is trying to serve the Lord and do what’s right, the husband is the boss when it comes to decisions about the home and family. God’s Word clearly says that women should obey their husbands. (Ephesians 5:22-24,33; 1Corinthians 11:3,8-9; 1Peter 3:1,5-6). If most Christian wives would do this, there would be a lot less fusses, disagreements and arguments! And if you can’t trust your husband, at least you can trust the Lord!

In fact, you BOTH have to trust the Lord if you’re going to have peace, unity and harmony in the home! If you can’t trust your wife or your husband, at least trust the Lord and HE’LL work things out somehow!

 
“WHAT CAUSES FIGHTS AND QUARRELS AMONG YOU?” (JAMES 4:1)

James goes on to say, “Don’t they come from your lusts and desires that battle within you? You want something, but don’t get it…so you quarrel and fight.” (James 4:1-2). So greediness and SELFISHNESS can be one of the root causes of arguing, trying to get the things you selfishly want.

Other arguments are caused by PRIDE. Proverbs 13:1O says, “Only by PRIDE come quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.”

Also, as we’ve clearly seen, many arguments are caused by SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS.–Pushing your point, thinking that you’re so right, putting yourself up and the other person down by contradicting them!

And what it all boils down to is a lack of LOVE! Arguing isn’t the real problem, it’s just a SYMPTOM!–A LACK OF LOVE is the REAL problem! That’s one of the major lessons that the Lord wants us to learn–how to LOVE people, how to work with them, how to treat them, how to give the other person the advantage and the benefit of the doubt, how to build them up unselfishly, instead of selfishly tearing them down through contention and argument! All this is a part of LEARNING TO LOVE, to put ourselves in other people’s shoes, to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you!” (Matthew 7:12).

So pray and ask Jesus to give you more LOVE, and help you to overcome the habit of arguing! It will help if you try to apply all the practical pointers that are covered in this post, but only JESUS can really give you the SPIRITUAL solutions and change your heart and spirit and fill you with His Spirit of Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22). Only HE can give you the strength and grace to LOVE and NOT to argue!–So stay close to HIM!

 
 

Treasures. Copyright (c) The Family International

Anger!–One Letter Short Of Danger!

Compiled from the writings of David Brandt Berg

free-bible-studies-online-anger-one-letter-short-of-danger

I spoke a word in anger to one who was my friend.
Like a knife it cut him deeply, A wound that was hard to mend.
That word, so thoughtlessly uttered, I wish we could both forget,
But its echo lives and memory gives the recollection yet.

A Christian writer relates the following true story: “During early childhood I had a fiery temper which often caused me to say and do unkind things in the heat of anger.

“One day, after I had bawled out one of my playmates and sent him home in tears, my father told me that for each thoughtless, angry word I said, he would hammer a nail into our gatepost. And each time I was pa­tient and said something kind and gentle, one nail would be taken out.

“Months passed. Each time I entered our gate, I was reminded of the reasons for those ever-increasing nails! Until finally, I decided that to get them out would be a challenge and I’d try my best!

“At last the day I longed for arrived! Only one more nail! As my father pulled it out, I danced around proudly exclaiming, ‘See, Daddy, the nails are all gone!’

“I remember Father gazing intently at the post riddled full of holes, and he thoughtfully replied, ‘Yes, the nails are gone, but the scars remain!'”

How true the saying, “The anger of today is the remorse of tomorrow”. How deeply we regret words spoken in angry impatience, words that we wish we had never said. Uncontrolled anger can be a vicious and terrible thing! Someone has said, “When anger was in Cain’s heart, murder was not far off!” You are never so vulnerable to the thoughts of the Devil as when you are unreasonably angry. Self-control is at an all-time low, reason decreases, and common sense usually forsakes you! Anger is just one letter short of danger!

It was in a sudden burst of anger that Moses killed an Egyptian and had to flee for his life! (Exodus 2:11-15). It then took him 40 years of patiently, humbly tending sheep in the wilderness, with time to listen to the Voice of God instead of his own impulses, before he was ready for the slow, la­borious, patient work of delivering the Hebrews from Egypt.

The Bible has a lot to say about anger–mostly against anger! At least against un­loving, impatient, selfish, proud, hurtful, unjustified human anger! Paul tells us to “Get rid of your bitterness, rage and anger.” (Ephesians 4:31). Solomon warns us, “Do not be hasty in your spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools.” (Ecclesiastes 7:9). God’s Word also warns, “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered” (Proverbs 22:24,25) because an angry person is apt to become violent and cause you and oth­ers harm and trouble!

 
Righteous Indignation!

But all anger is not necessarily wrong. After all, anger is a natural, God-given emotion, and is, in itself, neither right nor wrong. The rightness or wrongness depends on our reason or motivation for being angry. The Greek philosopher, Aristotle, rightly wrote, “It is easy to fly into a passion–anybody can do that–but to be angry with the right person at the right time and with the right object in the right way–that is not easy, and it is not every­one who can do it!”

Most Christians today seem to think that anger is a sin, and sad to say, in most cases it usually is. But sometimes it is ac­tually a sin not to be angry! God Himself frequently gets very angry, particularly with the rebellious, Truth-rejecting wicked who oppress, persecute and mistreat others! In fact, His Word says, “God is angry with the wicked every day!” (Psalm 7:11).

Wise King Solomon wrote, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under Heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). and there are definitely times when we should be angry! Otherwise, how are we going to have the fight and the spirit, the ardor and the compulsion to “fight the good fight”, “war a good warfare”, “resist the Devil”, “preach the Word, reprove, rebuke and exhort”, and do all the many other things that we as ac­tive Christian soldiers must do in order to resist and fight sin, evil and the forces of the Devil! (1Timothy 8:12; 1:18; James 4:7; 2Timothy 4:2).

Although there are many examples in the Bible that clearly illustrate the bad effects of uncontrolled anger, there are also many examples of men of God who became angry for good reasons, for the right reasons, and their Godly anger compelled them to fight evil, right wrongs and set things straight!

The New Testament tells us that even Jesus Himself was frequently stirred up with Godly anger, or righteous indignation. In Mark Chapter 3, we read that Jesus went into a synagogue of the Jews and found a man there with a withered or shriveled hand. Some of his hypocritical religious enemies were watching closely to see if He would break the Laws of Moses by healing this poor man on their holy day, the Sabbath. Jesus ordered the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone!” He then turned towards the hypocritical religionists and asked them, “Which is lawful to do on the Sabbath: To do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?”

They were silenced by His question. “And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand!” And the man’s hand was completely restored and healed! (Mark 3:1-5). So here we see an example of Jesus Himself being angered and grieved at the hypocrisy and the hardness of His accusers’ hearts.

Another time that the Bible says Jesus became angry was when the people were bringing little children for Him to touch and bless. But His disciples rebuked and tried to send away those who brought the children. “But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant. And He said to them, ‘Let the little chil­dren come to Me! Do not hinder them, for of such is the Kingdom of God!'” (Mark 10: 13,14). The sight of His Own disciples trying to prevent small children from coming to Him, angered Jesus. And it was no doubt with an “indignant” tone of voice that He ordered, “Let the little children come to Me!” So why should we not also be angered at anything or anybody who would try to hin­der or stop folks from coming to Jesus?

Of course, the crowning example of Jesus’ anger was when He launched an all-out attack against the falsehood, fakery and Pharisaical phoniness of the religious lead­ers of His day! When He found the religionists robbing and exploiting the poor in the name of God. He made a whip with His Own hands, stormed into the Temple and personal­ly beat and drove out the money changers, overturned their tables, poured out their money and loudly rebuked them, saying, “You have turned the house of prayer into a den of thieves and robbers!” (John 2:14-16 Matthew 21:12-13).

Later that day, Jesus delivered His final message to the Pharisees, in which He became so infuriated at their self-righteous hypocrisy, their merciless oppression of the poor and their rejection of God’s Truth, that He absolutely exploded with a blast of Truth that exposed, condemned, cursed and literally damned them to Hell! A message that so stung them, that from that moment on, they were determined to murder Him, and had Him crucified only a few days later!  (See Matthew 23)!

These, and many other examples from the Bible, make it clear that there is a time to be angry, and that such “righteous indignation” is of God! His Word even tells us, “Be ye angry and sin not!” (Ephesians 4:26). So the Lord actually instructs us to be angry if it’s for the right reasons and about the right things. Such as against hypocrisy, injustices or against innocent people being hurt or taken advantage of. Such Godly anger should motivate us to try to correct injustices and right wrongs and take positive action to remedy needy situations!

This is the difference between Godly anger and the “wrath of Man”, of which the Bible says, “the wrath of Man does not work the righteousness of God.” (James 1:20). Whereas righteous wrath, or Godly anger, brings about good results.

 
How To Handle Anger

Sad to say, we do not usually become angry for such noble reasons as those mentioned above. Often our anger simply results from concern about ourselves, from selfishness. We don’t get our own way, our pride is wounded or we somehow feel slighted or mistreated by others, so we become frustrat­ed, upset and angry.

When you realize and recognize that you are becoming angry or upset like this and that it is obviously not “righteous indignation”, you should try to consciously take an effort to keep such anger under control instead of letting your bad feelings spill out in uncontrolled actions or words! The Bible says, “Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.” (James 1:19).

To “be quick to hear” is another way to say, “Listen carefully”. If you can patient­ly listen to what’s going on and hold back long enough to think and pray about what you’re going to say or how you’re going to respond, you can usually control your anger and express your feelings in a healthy way. “A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control”. (Pro­verbs 29:11). Do not talk when you are angry and upset in your own spirit, but after you have calmed down. Hot words never result in cool judgment. A wise man controls his temper. He knows that anger causes mistakes, hurts those who we love and destroys friendships!

Anger is a strong emotion and it does need to be expressed in some way. But it’s a sad thing about your temper: You can’t get rid of it by losing it! It’s true that expressing anger with violent passion–yelling, sharp words and high emotions does get results, but the results are usually not too positive! “Hitting the ceiling”, as they say, “is a poor way to rise in the World!” And, “People who fly into a rage always make a bad landing!”

Of course, we are referring here to the “wrath of Man” that is generated by our own spirits, not about righteous indignation, which is inspired by the Lord. Because if you are stirred up with righteous anger, then sharp words and high emotions can get positive results, as you stir others up and take them aware of the sin, evil or injus­tices that have stirred you up in the first place! As the Lord told His Prophet Isaiah, “Cry aloud, do not hold back, raise your voice like a trumpet and show My people their sins!” (Isaiah 58:1).

God’s Word even tells us, “You that love the Lord, hate evil.” And, “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil, pride, arrogancy and the evil way!” (Psalm 97:10; Proverbs 8:13). If you really love and fear the Lord and have genuine conviction and Godly en­thusiasm, you will not sit idly by and remain silent about or respond passively to outright evil, wrongdoings and injustices, but you’ll stand up and speak out against such things. Angrily if necessary!

Such righteous anger is healthy and should be expressed. The Prophet, Jeremiah, when beholding the rebellion and iniquity of his backslidden people, said, “I am full of the fury of the Lord!–And I cannot hold it in!…If I say, ‘I will not mention Him or speak any more in His name’, His Word is in my heart as a burning fire, a fire shut up in my bones! I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot!” (Jeremiah 6:11; 20:9).

However, if you know that your anger is merely the result of your own hurt feelings or pride, you still need to do something about it if it has built up inside of you. But as we’ve already shown, it is usually very unwise to vent such anger on others.

One solution that many people have found works for them is to redirect their anger. Redirecting the pent-up energy that their anger has generated by cutting the grass, working in the garden, taking a walk, exercising, washing the car etc… gives them something to get their mind off of what made them angry in the first place, thus giving them time to “cool off”, to think and pray about a solution to the problem.

Of course, a lot of Christians feel guilty for being angry, so they simply try to ignore the fact that they’re upset and pretend that they’re not. But ignoring anger can be like taking a waste-paper basket full of burning paper and hiding it in the closet! True, the fire may burn out. But more likely, it may eventually burn the house down! Pent-up, unexpressed anger is un­healthy and has been medically proven to cause all kinds of problems ranging from ul­cers, anxiety and headaches to even depres­sion!

So if you recognize that you are getting unreasonably angry with someone, try to con­fess it before your feelings get out of control! For instance, you might say to your mate when a conversation is heating up and getting a little tense, “You know, with the way this discussion is going, I’m afraid I’m starting to feel upset. Now, I don’t want to get angry, and I know you don’t want me to get angry, so perhaps we could stop and pray and start this discussion over again later, after we’ve asked the Lord to help us solve this situation.” This is an excellent response, to confess your anger in such a way that will let the other person know that you’re getting angry, without them getting angry too! You might say, “I’m sorry but I’m getting upset. What can I do now so we can work this thing out? Could you please pray with me?”

If it’s too late and you’ve already been unjustifiably angry with someone, don’t be too proud to say you’re sorry! Temper gets people into trouble, but pride keeps them there! And if someone’s been unjustifiably angry with you, forgive! The best cure for a short temper is a lengthy prayer! Pray and ask Jesus to help you if you have a problem controlling your anger! You can even ask others to pray unitedly for you, for there is great power in united prayer together! Memorize Scriptures that speak of anger, and how we as Chris­tians should behave towards others! Proverbs 16:32 says, “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that controls his temper than he who conquers a city.” Ask Jesus to help you today!–He never fails!

Of course, there are times when we are justifiably angry or upset with someone, such as when they willfully, purposely wrong or harm us or others. Jesus said, “Whoever is angry with his brother without cause, shall be in danger of judgment” (Matthew 5:22), which shows that sometimes there is a “cause” or reason to be angry, even with your “brother”. Which is why the Lord said, “If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.” (Luke 17:3). “Rebuke”, according to the dictionary, means “to reprove sharply, to reprimand”.

But remember, love, humility and prayer solve all problems, and that “as you forgive others’ sins, so your Heavenly Father will forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14,15). “And as you wish that others should do to you, so do unto them” (Matthew 7:12), for this is God’s Law of Love! So may God help you to be loving, kind and forgiving, and only to get stirred up and angry if and when the Lord moves you to! Amen? God bless you!

 
 

Treasures. Copyright (c) The Family International

Making Your Next Year A Success – J. P. Moreland, PhD