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Tag Archives: overcoming anger

Overcoming Spiritual Mood Swings

Mood swings are an abrupt and apparently unaccountable change in an individual’s mood. From time to time, there are logical and rationale reasons to explain these emotional swings. Women may blame that time of the month while men might point to a personal matter. Nonetheless, Christians are called to higher standards in Matthew 5:43-48. According to one of Jesus’ disciples, trusting in the Holy Spirit, 2 Peter 1:3-4 helps overcome spiritual mood swings.

Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fatted ox and hatred with it. 18 A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger appeases contention. 19 The way of the sluggard is overgrown with thorns [it pricks, lacerates, and entangles him], but the way of the righteous is plain and raised like a highway, Proverbs 15:17-19.

King Solomon points to a trait passed on to him by his father David, 1 Samuel 16:7. While the world often uses physical appearances and traits as a means to determine greatness, God looks at the heart. Unfortunately, even men and women with a heart for God have inner demons. Some fall prey to anger which can trigger a mood swing with just one word. As someone who had my own anger management issues in the past, learning to control emotional outbursts is no easy matter.

Because of the hope [of experiencing what is] laid up ([d]reserved and waiting) for you in heaven. Of this [hope] you heard in the past in the message of the truth of the Gospel, Which has come to you. Indeed, in the whole world [that Gospel] is bearing fruit and still is growing [e][by its own inherent power], even as it has done among yourselves ever since the day you first heard and came to know and understand the grace of God in truth. [You came to know the grace or undeserved favor of God in reality, deeply and clearly and thoroughly, becoming accurately and intimately acquainted with it,] Colossians 1:5-6.

According to the apostle Paul, grasping God’s grace is the best place to start. Emotional mood swings are usually followed by conviction, guilt, shame or a combination of these three. Once the fireworks of your mood swing have come to an end, there is a brief moment where grace can come to the rescue. If you haven’t reached rock bottom like the prodigal son, common sense may not be regained for days, weeks, months or years. Yet, when the Father’s love shines through, controlling spiritual mood swings is possible.

by Jay Mankus

Guilt by Comparison

Guilt by Association dates back to 1525 as a Medieval Latin expression. However, the idea that an individual is guilty of a crime because he associates with the person who actually committed it can be found in the Bible. While Eve actually ate the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, Adam was right there with her the whole time, Genesis 3:6-7. One chapter later, Cain is the first to experience guilt by comparison.

And in the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground. And Abel brought of the firstborn of his flock and of the fat portions. And the Lord had respect and regard for Abel and for his offering, Genesis 4:3-4.

Whenever individuals begin to believe that the grass is greener on the other side where someone else resides, envy and jealousy is conceived. The saying “grass is always greener on the other side” originated in the 19th century. The more you compare your own life to a family member, friend or neighbor, guilt can consume your soul by wishing you had this or that. When Cain realized how hard it was to be a farmer, the comparisons began.

But for Cain and his offering He had no respect or regard. So Cain was exceedingly angry and indignant, and he looked sad and depressed. And the Lord said to Cain, Why are you angry? And why do you look sad and depressed and dejected? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you, but you must master it, Genesis 4:5-7.

Cain’s guilt from comparison leads to a one on one conversation with God. Trying to figure out why Abel’s offering was embraced by God while his was rejected results in anger, depression and frustration. In response to Cain’s displeasure, God reveals how guilt by comparison has lead to an internal struggle. When sin crouches at your door, you must resist or else guilt will ravage your life. Instead of wanting what you don’t have, appreciate all the little things that God has blessed you with in life.

by Jay Mankus

Conjugal Rights

From time to time, I will come across foreign concepts when I study the Bible. While studying a chapter written by the apostle Paul, one translation uses the term conjugal rights. Conjugal refers to marriage and the relationship of a married couple. The rights in this context applies to sexual relations, regarded as exercisable in law by each partner in the covenant of marriage. According to the beginning of chapter 7, the Corinthian Church wrote Paul a letter wanting to know what Christian’s should believe about relationships, remaining single and marriage.

But because of the temptation to impurity and to avoid immorality, let each [man] have his own wife and let each [woman] have her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights (goodwill, kindness, and what is due her as his wife), and likewise the wife to her husband, 1 Corinthians 7:2-3.

While this chapter in the Bible isn’t R rated like the Song of Solomon, Paul does go into graphic details. Conjugal rights includes goodness, kindness and loving spouses as Christ loved the church. This final call to love serves two purposes. The first is designed to live out your faith when you are with your soul mate. The second is a safe guard against controlling your spouse by using sex as a form of manipulation. Paul reminds couples that partners don’t have exclusive authority over their mate’s body. Rather, part of making vows to become one includes marital rights.

For the wife does not have [exclusive] authority and control over her own body, but the husband [has his rights]; likewise also the husband does not have [exclusive] authority and control over his body, but the wife [has her rights]. Do not refuse and deprive and defraud each other [of your due marital rights], except perhaps by mutual consent for a time, so that you may devote yourselves unhindered to prayer. But afterwards resume marital relations, lest Satan tempt you [to sin] through your lack of restraint of sexual desire, 1 Corinthians 7:4-5.

While there may be exceptions to abstaining from sex for a mutually agreed upon time, Paul is clear about the dangers. When a communication gap occurs, often due to anger, Ephesians 4:26-27, the Devil has a way of ruining relationships. When you add this factor to a growing number of Christians addicted to pornography, temptation is awaiting and lurking around every corner of the internet, social media and television. In view of this dark reality, offering your spouse conjugal and marital rights is essential to save the institution of marriage in America.

by Jay Mankus

Pushed to the Brink of Letting Go

Whenever your job description changes over night, an unsettling feeling may overwhelm your soul.  As you search for answers, your nerves may be calmed or a dysfunctional situation only gets worse.  Depending upon your state of mind, anger may brew, bitterness boil and frustration mount.  Yet, perhaps all this has happened to you, pushed to the brink by stress to let go of control by allowing God to take the reigns.

And [later] she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel kept the flocks [of sheep and goats], but Cain cultivated the ground. And in the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground. But Abel brought [an offering of] the [finest] firstborn of his flock and the fat portions. And the Lord had respect (regard) for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and his offering He had no respect. So Cain became extremely angry (indignant), and he looked annoyed and hostile, Genesis 4:2-5.

In the passage above, an older brother becomes jealous of his younger brother.  The long hours of farming gradually took a toll on Cain’s state of mind.  After coming home dirty and exhausted, Abel appeared to have a much better job and life.  However, when Cain was pushed to the brink, he chose to question God as detailed below.  This venting session provided Cain with advice on what to do next, toward an open door to escape temptation, 1 Corinthians 10:13.

And the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you so angry? And why do you look annoyed? If you do well [believing Me and doing what is acceptable and pleasing to Me], will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well [but ignore My instruction], sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you [to overpower you], but you must master it,” Genesis 4:6-7.

Anyone who is about to lose it emotionally needs to reflect upon the passage above.  Every day sin crouches at your door, waiting for foolish souls to welcome it in.  Unless you practice the self discipline referred to in 2 Timothy 1:6-7, sin will overpower you.  Thus, if you want to avoid the same fate of Cain, you must learn to control your body like a competitive athlete.  This pursuit results in a calm and well balanced mind.  Thus, if you are prepared, the next time you are pushed to the brink of frustration, letting go by trusting God will become a natural transition.

by Jay Mankus

The Lord’s Patience

If you have children, coach or teach, then you understand willful disobedience.  Unfortunately, human nature tends to cause adults to become angry, frustrated or resentful.  In the heat of the moment, its not uncommon to say or do something you regret.  If only individuals possessed the Lord’s patience.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance, 2 Peter 3:9.

One of the more awkward conversations in the Bible occurs in John 21.  Peter meets face to face with a resurrected Jesus.  Without bringing up Peter’s public denial, Jesus asks him if he the loves the Lord three times.  These words cut to the heart, a painful reminder of Peter’s past transgression the week prior.  Before the day was over, Peter received a glimpse of the Lord’s patience.

Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go,” John 21:18.

In this age of instant gratification, its hard to allow time to take its course on life.  Instead of pressing others to comply with your rules and regulation, sometimes you have to let those whom you love to wander off.  Only when people come to their senses will the day of repentance arrive.  Therefore, as a friend, mentor or parent don’t force the issue.  Rather, pray that the Lord’s patience will awaken souls and lead to salvation.

by Jay Mankus

What the Hell are You Doing?

Every so often I am surprised by something I hear.  Sometimes its a conversation, an interview or watching another star athlete get into trouble.  Yet, this morning as I was critiquing the driver’s in front of me, I heard God’s voice whisper to me, “what the hell are you doing?”

Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the bosom of fools, Ecclesiastes 7:9.

It’s easy to point the finger at others, exposing people’s flaws, imperfections and weaknesses.  However, when the criticism is pointed in your direction, its hard to accept.  Like a blind spot in a car’s mirror, I guess I’ve been carrying on with my life without seeing who or what I’ve become.  The best response to my growing impatience is “what the hell am I doing?”

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; James 1:19.

According to Solomon, my recent commentary of bad drivers is foolish.  While my mind thinks these observations are accurate, a first century apostle refers to my behavior as selfish and judgmental.  What I’m actually doing is being a poor example of Christ.  Thus, the next time you find yourself looking in the rear view mirror, wondering the the hell the driver behind you is doing, reflect on God’s Word, the Bible, to see how you can better represent Jesus in the the future.  Change now or you too may hear God say, “what the hell are you doing?”

by Jay Mankus

 

When Jealousy is in the Air

The presence, sight or trace of gifted, special or talented individuals can be a tough pill to swallow for a typical American.  Whenever average, mediocre and middle of the road people come in contact with someone who appears to be more blessed, an uneasy feeling grips souls.  Subsequently, when the conditions are ripe, a spirit of jealousy fills the air around the insecure.

But on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast, Genesis 4:5.

As children experience new emotions for the first time, coping with these feelings can be challenging.  In fact for some, this may be the root of temper tantrums, overcome by the moment or unable to accept reality.  This is where we find Cain in the book of Genesis, frustrated by his younger brother’s success.  Despite his hard work as a farmer, God was more pleased with Abel’s giving heart as a shepherd.  Sensing a mounting tension, the Lord tried to intervene, but it was too late as jealousy was conceived inside of Cain.

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God, Galatians 5:19-21.

When in the air, jealousy can turn mature men into childish individuals.  By products of this sinful nature produce fits of rage, selfish ambition and division among groups.  Once conceived, jealousy breeds envy, blinding one’s perspective of your own gifts and talents.  Therefore, the next time you sense the presence of jealousy in the air, fight back with prayer and the sword of the Spirit.  If you claim God’s promises in prayer you will likely avoid following in the footsteps of Cain.

by Jay Mankus

Despite How You Really Feel…

In an age of lawlessness, feelings can conceive acts of violence.  Whether its road rage, disputes between neighbors or workplace tensions, feelings provide individuals with an excuse for their behavior.  Perhaps, this may explain Jesus’ harsh words in Matthew 5:21-26, comparing hatred with murder.  Thus, if you sense anger beginning to consume your soul, think twice before giving into these desires.

King David provides a guideline for anyone who reaches a tipping point, as their feelings boil over.  Psalm 35:13-14 displays the right way to respond to mistreatment from others.  Despite how you really feel, there is a proper way to react to those in need, whether you like them or not.  Essentially, David is illustrating a blue print of loving your neighbor as yourself, Matthew 22:39.

A generation ago, most American parents held a common value, relayed to their children weekly, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it!”  Adults in the neighborhood weren’t afraid to discipline other kids on the block, correcting anyone who crossed the line of morality.  Today, lawsuits, moral decay and a rejection of God has led many to follow their feelings.  Yet, if you want to do what is right, remember the words of Micah 6:8, “act justly, love mercy and humbly walk with God.”

by Jay Mankus

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