He Makes Me So Mad!

Basket of Figs, October, 2005

Bud Powell

 

 

 

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“He knows how to reach out and hook your anger.”

 

The kid did it on purpose, of course.  In seeing the teacher lose his temper the child had won a sort of a victory.

 

It was the same in all his classes.  Every teacher had been a victim and had sent the boy to the office.  He spent a good bit of time sitting, waiting for the counselor to talk to him.  He would serve his in-school or out-of-school suspension, and would behave for a while, but the game was just too much fun for him.  The boy was really good at what he did and even some of the old, experienced teachers had taken the bait.

 

We had a meeting to try to find out what to do to do.  The school counselor was a wise and seasoned man, who had spent a life working with teen-agers.   It was he who said, “He knows how to reach out and hook your anger.”

 

Over the course of many years, I knew several students like that.  Some of them grew up to be men who still played the childish game.  Punishment did little to change their behavior, for punishment was just the price they paid for gaining a little victory over the teacher.   They had learned the game at home, of course, and often could play their parents like a fiddle.

 

The temptation, of course, was to blame the kid.  Some teachers did this and did not understand another very important principle, “No one can make you angry.  You give them permission to do so.”

 

This writer is not one who believes that anger in itself is evil, but like every other human trait it is more often than not used for evil.   “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:” (Eph 4:26 AV), is what the apostle said.  Anger is to be under control.  It is to be the servant of the soul, not it’s master.

 

“God is angry with the wicked every day” (Ps 7:11 AV), but He is never out of control.  In a classic passage in Isaiah 30 the wrath of God is compared to a wall that is swelling out and ready to fall upon the ungodly.  When it comes none will escape and all their devices will come to nothing {Isaiah 30:1-18),  He gives firm assurances that none of the ungodly will escape His wrath.

 

But God has other things to do besides punishing the ungodly.  He will not allow the ungodly to turn Him aside from His works of compassion and grace:  “And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.” (Isa 30:18 AV)

 

Patience is the greatest strength of all, for in patience we do not allow the frustration and temptations of life to turn us aside from the work of godliness which is glorifying God and enjoying Him forever.

 

How great is that wonderful power of God which gives Him power over Himself!  He does not throw a tizzy fit over every act of ungodliness and wickedness that He sees.  If He regarded iniquity, who would stand? [Ps. 130:l3].  The Day of Judgment will come; the ungodly will drink of His undiluted wrath in that day [Rev. 14:10], but until then He is saving those who believe on Christ, restraining evil, and working all things to the good of those who trust in Him.

 

God keeps Himself in control.  We should, too.

 

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