• Jon Forrest

Unholy tantrums

The Upward Look, by Jon Forrest

Unholy Tantrums

A young girl who was writing a paper for school came to her father and asked, "Dad, what is the difference between anger and annoyance?"

The father replied, "It is mostly a matter of degree. Let me show you what I mean." With that the father went to the telephone and dialed a number at random. To the man who answered the phone, he said, "Hello, is Melvin there?"

The man answered, "There is no one living here named Melvin. Why don’t you learn to look up numbers before you dial?"

"See," said the father to his daughter. "That man was not a bit happy with our call. He was probably very busy with something and we annoyed him. Now watch...." The father dialed the number again. "Hello, is Melvin there?" asked the father.

"Now look here!" came the heated reply. "You just called this number and I told you that there is no Melvin here! You’ve got lot of guts calling again!" The receiver slammed down hard.

The father turned to his daughter and said, "You see, that was anger. Now I’ll show you what annoyance means." He dialed the same number, and when a violent voice roared, "Hello!"

The father calmly said, "Hello, this is Melvin. Have there been any calls for me?"

Anger often comes as a result of being inconvenienced by a situation or learning inconvenient information. It can come when someone pushes you out of your convenience zone by their “inconsiderate” behavior. Paul says that it is fine to get angry if we do not sin. He goes on to explain one-way anger can be sinful; that being when we hang on past sundown allowing it to become a bitter hostile grudge. Such a grudge can result in very unloving, unkind and even evil behavior toward others and even God. (See Ephesians 4:26-27)

James wrote about the issue of becoming easily angry…

"My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you." (James 1:19-21)

Many people fly off the handle into a tantrum because they have already made up their minds about what someone means before they even hear what the other has said. That is why they need to be quick to listen. James explains that a person filled with anger will commit sin sometimes because they have crowded out their ability to receive God’s instruction.

God warned Cain that his anger and jealousy over God’s blessing of his brother’s sacrifice was dangerous. He told him that because of his attitude “sin is crouching at your door.” Cain did not listen to God. He was quick to speak and to anger. In his tantrum he murdered his younger brother and tried to cover up his crime when God asked him where his brother was.

Jesus warned that hatred is like murder. If your anger results in hatred, sin will destroy you and many around you. Be more respectful of the ideas and thoughts of others by being quick to listen, slow to speak and anger. When you do get angry, get rid of it. Clear up differences A.S.A.P. lest a grudge result, giving birth to hatred.

Give your emotions to God and let him shoulder them for you.

This Sunday we will share the second and final part of our mini-series titled “Crouching at Your Door” with a message titled “The Fruit of Anger” based on Genesis 4:7-12. Come and bring your friends and neighbors as we examine this very important life issue.

Trying to listen more,


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