One day a wife asked her husband, “Why don’t you play golf with George anymore?” The husband answered, “Would you play golf with a man who moves the ball and puts down the wrong score while you’re not looking?” The wife said, “Certainly not.” The husband replied, “Neither would George.”
Sinful behavior — it does affect our lives, doesn’t it? My youngest son Royce has been playing some summer baseball, and recently he struck out by foolishly swinging at a pitch that was in the dirt. On his way back into the dugout, he threw down his helmet in a fit of anger. And what was my wife Tonya’s knee-jerk reaction to that? She smiled and said, “I wonder who he gets that from?” (And, no, she wasn’t talking about herself.)
Okay, I’ll admit it, when I get really mad my first reaction is to throw something, kick something, or slam something. For example, several years ago Tonya stood in the kitchen and watched me get aggravated at a troublesome weedeater and launch it into space. That incident reminds me of the story about the little boy who was watching a preacher try to start an old pull-cord mower. When the boy commented, “That mower is enough to make a fellow cuss,” the preached said, “Son, I used to cuss, but I stopped that filthy habit when I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and it’s been so long now since I cussed I’m not even sure that I would remember how.” To that the boy replied, “You keep pulling on that cord and it will all come back to you.”
The truth is that each of us struggles with some specific sin or pattern of bad behavior, and no matter how long we go without tripping over that old log, we’ll eventually find ourselves again face first on the ground in front of it. One of mine (and yes, there are others) is my temper. That’s my personal admission for the day. But how about you? What’s your problem area? Is it worry? Doubt? Greed? Impatience? Lust? Jealousy? Ego? Vanity? Pride? Something else?
Royce and I have already had the conversation about him not slamming down his batting helmet. That subject didn’t take long to address. Unfortunately, the underlying cause of that little fit of rage is something that he will have to contend with for the rest of his life. I speak from personal experience on this because I am 50 years old and still contending with my own case of it. For me as a Christian, one of the best things about heaven is the fact that I will be eternally rescued from this mortal flesh, a flesh that is polluted and tainted by sin. Until then, though, there will always be the temptation to slam down helmets and throw weedeaters. That’s the daily challenge that Royce and I must face.
The only real help that I’ve ever found to combat my faulty inner wiring is Jesus Christ. When I placed my belief in Him as Savior, God the Holy Spirit came to take up residence inside me, and His presence allows me a fighting chance to keep my pet sins and bad behavior at bay. Even with the Spirit living inside me, I still show my temper every now and then. With His help, though, those occasions aren’t nearly as numerous as they once were, and I have hopes that they will occur even less as I grow older. This, you see, is my anger management plan. And the plan will work as long as I work the plan by letting the Holy Spirit control me from the inside.