2. General Principles for Interpreting the Bible
Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Monday, May 18, 2020
Frustration, anger, and conflict are issues that are prone to arise in our lives in normal days, but even more so in the challenges we currently face. In this article, our biblical counselor Vikki Crouch offers helpful counsel about how to guard against responding in anger.
God Himself expressed anger – righteous anger. (Deut. 9:8; Ex. 32:10) Jesus expressed righteous anger (Mark3:5, 11:15). Believers can also express righteous anger…but the problem is, we usually do not. Our anger most often is not because God is being sinned against; it is unrighteous because we are personally affronted in some way or we do not get what we want. In other words, the desires are our heart are not being met. James 4:1-3 detail the process. Romans 1:25 exposes the root: we worship the creatures (ourselves and our desires) rather than the Creator.
So, what is the solution? Are we never to get angry again? That is quite unrealistic as we are all sinners saved by grace through faith in Christ, No. The solution is to respond to anger-producing situations rather than to react to them. Act vs. React. Here is what this looks like. We get a “punch” of some sort, (a threat, an accusation, a mistreatment or injustice, a perceived wrong of some sort, etc.) Now: our response to that “punch”. What will it be? Will we react with anger? Or will we purposely respond with Christ on the throne of our heart rather than self? We all know what it looks like to lose self-control. We say and do things we often later regret.
It is better to yield control to the Lord. 1. The way to do this is to respond by going straight to the throne of grace by praying, “Lord, please help me!! I yield to You.” 2. Purposely respond by clarifying the issue with appropriate questions: What did you mean by ________? Are you telling me ___________?” Summarize the issue by asking, “Of all you just said, what do you most want me to understand? What do you want from me right now?” Listen more. Speak less. When you do respond, do so by lowering your pitch, slowing the pace of your words, and softening the volume. (In anger, we often speak louder, more rapidly, and in a higher pitch.) This response will give you a better sense of acting rather than reacting, and of calm rather than haste. 3. Answer gently (Prov. 15:1) Choose your words wisely. You can be truthful without tearing someone down. (Eph. 4:29) When you are wrong, take responsibility by admitting it, and asking forgiveness right then and there. (Eph. 4:26-27) Grant forgiveness when you have been wronged. (Eph. 4:32) This is how to respond rather than react. It is more likely to result in resolution rather than more conflict. It is more likely to result in conversing in conversation rather than arguing. This is a righteous response to injustice or a “punch” of sorts rather than an unrighteous one. I do believe our Savior will be glorified as a result.
Friday, May 15, 2020
In a time in which families have been isolated, meetings are happening by phone or Zoom, and when we can't physically be together, communication can be challenging. Hurt feelings and misunderstanding may abound if we're not careful, leading to problems and disunity. In order to help your communication with others, read this helpful article from our counselor, Vikki Crouch.
Communication is vital to every relationship. It is vital in our relationship with God as well as our communication with each other. It involves our words, our tone, pitch, volume, gestures and facial expressions, etc. But it involves another aspect often overlooked: listening.
Because communication is important in relationships, it is paramount we do so accurately. It is also important we receive what is being communicated accurately. The basic truth is this: the message sent is not always the message received. You know what you are trying to convey but the other person may misunderstand and unless this is rectified as soon as possible, misunderstandings and their consequences reign. Sometimes the consequences can be large. Here are some considerations.
To begin with, God gave us one mouth and two ears. Could it be He is trying to tell us to listen 2 X more than we speak? And we should listen well rather than interrupt and try to insert our "2 cents worth" before someone is finished. We can clarify our understanding by simply stating, "Are you telling me _____________? What did you mean when you said ___________?" We can summarize our understanding by asking, "Of all you just said, what do you most want me to understand? What do you want from me right now?" Doing these simple things can clear up misunderstandings immediately and avoid a possible problem down the road. So, make sure you accurately understand what the other person is saying before you respond.
"A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." (Prov. 15:1) The tongue can undoubtedly ignite a "forest fire" of harm when used recklessly (James 3:5-6) Ephesians 4:31-32 give us the approach to take. These verses tell us to dispense with bitterness, wrath, anger, slander, and malice, and replace them with kindness, forgiveness, and Christ-like love. Therefore, consider such comments as the following: "Thank you for your concern about this. Do you have any suggestions as to what I could do to improve in this area? I wasn't seeing that – thank you for bringing that to my attention." These are but a few of the appropriate ways one can respond without malice, anger, and slander but with love and gentle words that can promote a better understanding rather than start an argument or add fuel to the fire of one already burning. The goal is communication that glorifies God by being both accurate in understanding and loving in response.
One last morsel of wisdom. People do not always want you to solve their challenges-sometimes they just want you to listen to them and understand. Do not be too quick to tell them your opinion. Make sure you listen well and respond appropriately. "Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!" (Ps. 141:3) "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer." (Ps. 19:14)