Temper Temper

    Sometimes people try your last nerve! A friend once sent me 2 Timothy 2:24-26 to help me put my anger and lack of patience in perspective; it did wonders for me, so I want to pass that on to you.
    24 The Lord’s servant must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient, 25 instructing his opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth. 26 Then they may come to their senses and escape the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. 
    2 Timothy 2:24-26 CSB

    Introduction (00:01:14)

    Hey everyone, welcome to the PSALMS to God podcast!

    I'm going to start this episode off by confessing to you guys that I have a pretty quick temper. People who know me very well, and people who've known me for a long time, will probably testify to this. People who have only known me for a short time may be like,"oh, I can't imagine seeing you mad!" But anybody who's been in the car with me will probably not have that sentiment... I have a quick temper—I personally think it's genetic; I think there are a lot of people in my family that have really short tempers. Maybe it's a short person syndrome; I am very short there's not a place—a lot of room—for this anger to disperse throughout my body. I don't know. I don't know what my problem is, but I have a problem.

    Photocredit: Bitmoji
    Photocredit: Bitmoji

    And one day when I was at work, I had this coworker that started sending me some messages over Google Hangouts—out of the blue; I did not know this person—and the tone in which I perceived their messages to come across was not okay. It was not okay with me in the least, and the words that I wanted to type back we're also not okay. I don't think Jesus would have thought they were okay. I don't think my boss would have thought they were okay. I don't think the person on the other end of the computer would have thought they were okay. I didn't even think they were okay, but I wanted to say 'em. And so I knew that in that moment I needed to pray, but I was too mad to pray.

    Y'all ever been like that? Like, you just kind of full of whatever struggle and temptation you're in, that you are immobilized to doing your own praying? That's why you're supposed to have accountability partners! Luckily for me, I do. I have some great accountability partners, and I sent a couple of them a text message or group message, and asked them to pray for me because I was struggling. And one of them responded with this Bible passage—2 Timothy 2:24-26. When I tell you, the Spirit came over me reading these passages. These verses were a blessing in that situation and have continued to be a blessing since I read them.

    Let the Spirit Work (00:03:56)

    One of the first things that it did to me is it made it more real that it was not okay for me to be angry. Yeah, we all know that, you know, anger is not a good thing. But it's easy to make excuses when you're not thinking of a specific verse. You know, the first verse that came to my mind was the verse about anger being the same as murder,[1] but Jesus says without reason... I was like I got a reason to be mad at this person. Right? That's how the devil plays with our minds, trying to convince me that it's okay for me to be angry. But reading this particular verse, it's really explicit that in that situation I was supposed to be gentle, I was supposed to be patient, and I was not supposed to be quarreling. You can't really get around that. There was no excuse for the behavior that I was exhibiting, so that kind of calmed me down.

    Once I calmed down, the second part of the verse started to soak in. And that was the concept of it not being the person that is antagonizing me, but the devil. And the truth is, I have been that coworker—I'm not saying I've done this at my job, but just like my coworker was antagonizing me and the things they were saying we're irritating me, I'm sure I have irritated some other people. There are so many things that can go wrong in a conversation, and especially when it's via text, whether it's via text message, an email, Google Hangout... It's so easy to misinterpret what people are saying or how they're saying it, and so once I stopped and realize that the devil—his goal is to make me angry. He knows that's my weak spot, so he's coming for it. But not only that, he gets two for the price of one, because you know if I respond to my coworker in anger, even if they weren't mad in the first place, they're going to be mad then. So now he's going to have that person, too, and so that's what he does: he meddles into whatever we're doing. He's manipulating our weaknesses, our stresses, and all of these things, to get us to behave outside the character that God has outlined for us.

    And when I start to think about that I was like, "oh I'm not actually mad at my coworker; I'm mad at the devil, and that's not my battle, that's God's battle." Stepping back once I had realized that, it allowed me to separate my coworker from whatever, you know, anger was in a welling up in me, and allowing me to see my coworker as a person. Then I could see all of the things that could cause my coworker to react in such a manner, because we all react to stresses in our life differently, and we all handle those situations differently. So, in that moment I realized that I don't know what's going on with this person; I don't know what happened to them before they came to work, what's going on in their personal life, what kind of emotional state that they could be in, and the last thing I want to do is make whatever they're dealing with even worse. So, that really helped me to calm down and and try to put myself in check and emulate the character mentioned in these verses.

    So, I really wanted to pass them off to other people and to keep us thinking about how we react. It's definitely a hard process and a long process to get to the point where you can actually stop yourself mid anger and talk yourself through the situation. I've been working on that for 20 years and I'm not perfect at it. So. don't expect yourself to be able to do it just because you read the verse once, but I definitely recommend reading this book[2]—or reading this verse—a couple of times, you know, depending on your own anger situation. Maybe a couple of times a day, maybe a couple of times a week, maybe you only need to read it a couple of times, you know, a month or a year, whatever works for you. But I hope that you will have better luck with your temper as you deal with people, whether it be in your workplace or at school—church 'cause I know some things go down in church, too. Just whenever you're around people, just remember that we are to be imitating[3] the character of Jesus at all times, so that requires patience, and kindness, and compassion. So. Things to ponder.

    Wrap Up (00:09:05)

    Thank you guys for tuning in. The transcripts for this episode will be at www.psalmstogod.com/tempertemper and I hope I'll see you on Monday, with the regular weekly episode. See you next time.

    References and Footnotes

    1. Matthew 5:22
    2. I mean, you can read the whole book too. Maybe that was the Holy Spirit trying to inspire us to read all of 2 Timothy today.
    3. I think my brain was saying emulating while my mouth was saying imitating...whatever word came out was meant to encompass both of these words
    Published on Friday, January 11, 2019
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