We praise You because You are a good God. In a world that seems filled with brokenness and evil, thank You for taking all that upon Yourself through the cross, so that we might be made whole.
Our hearts go out to the people of Charlottesville, and all those wounded physically and emotionally by the tragic violence of August 12th. We pray especially for the family and friends of Heather Heyer and the police who were killed, that they would experience Your peace and comfort.
I’m in the process of cleaning up my “personal” site on DrErnie.com, and as part of that I’m moving some of my earlier writings to this site.
To start with, I present “Unforgiven”, a more-or-less accurate transcript of the first time God really dealt with me about anger…
A testimony in three persons
The stage appears empty except for a single chair, center, facing right. A man sits on it backwards, facing left, hugging the back of the chair. His expression is grim. A single spotlight shines down on him. Another man walk out from right, and stands looking at him from the semi-darkness. The first man speaks, but remains facing left.
In Which We and the World are Transformed as We Pray to the Father
Prayer is the process of aligning our thoughts, desires, and decisions with the Name of God, so that His Spirit can work through us to transform our lives, our relationships, and our world.
Memory Verse:“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” — Matthew 6:31-33 (NKJV)
In Which We Forgive Those Who Don’t Deserve It, Because We Don’t Either
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” — Matthew 5:5
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” — Matthew 5:9
Anger is unique among the seven deadly sins in that, in general, anger isn’t even a sin (cf. Ephesians 4:26). At one level, it is simply an emotional reaction to having our boundaries crossed. And at the highest level, anger is actually a virtue, since it is a significant part of God’s character — i.e., the “name” to which we are being conformed!
At the same time, anger is also the name of one of the most violent and dangerous sins. We can define sinful anger as a self-righteous passion for punishing those who offend us. This is why anger is so empowering and so deadly: it magnifies the sins of others to the point where we ignore our own.
Because anger is so devastating, we need to combat it with both meekness — the ability to restrain our passions in submission to God’s rule — and peacemaking, which seeks restoration and reconciliation instead of revenge.
In Which We Are Rescued from Our Folly by God’s Love
Love is the primary virtue of the Heart. It is both a Decision that gives rise to Emotions, as well an Emotion that gives rise to Decisions — and it needs both to thrive. It can be defined as “the ability to pursue another’s glory — even at the cost of your own.”
Love is particularly needed by the Fool, whose emotional damage drives a cycle of self-punishment disguised as the pursuit of pleasure. The only way out is to purify our hearts by receiving God’s love and forgiveness, to the point where we love Him more than the false gods we’ve served — and discover what it means to genuinely love ourselves…
Apologies for the pretentious title, but I wanted to challenge myself to identify and reorganize the lessons we covered in last year’s leadership class into a coherent prescription for facing down “Ministry Killers”. The idea is that each of these “steps” would be a single “life lesson”, but that together they provide the “full armor of God.“