8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other,…
Having just warned us about sexual sin in the preceding verses (telling us to put them to death), Paul now warns us about the social sins: anger (in its various manifestations), slander (anger in the form of gossip?), filthy language (calling down curses in colorful language?) and lying (an assault on the truth). This quartet of pain drains the joy out of living… we may as well be dead. But die to them… and life takes on new meaning. Die before you die, there is no chance after, Christian author, CS Lewis, once remarked.
My daughter Lindsey’s pediatric neurosurgeon when we lived in Maryland was Dr. Ben Carson. He is a world reknown surgeon having created a surgical proceedure known as a hemispherectomy, He has also completed several successful surgeries seperating Siamese twins joined at the head.
My family has met him and know him to be one of the mildest and calm individuals they have ever met. He exudes peace. So it is amazing to learn that he struggled as a child with an uncontrollable temper.
He writes in his book Take the Risk, about a day in his childhood when he turned to God about his temper problem: “One day, as a 14-year-old in ninth grade, I was hanging out at the house of my friend Bob, listening to his radio, when he suddenly leaned over and dialed the tuner to another station. I’d been enjoying the song playing on the first station, so I reached over and flipped it back. Bob switched stations again. A wave of rage welled up. Almost without thinking, I pulled out the pocketknife I always carried and, in one continuous motion, flicked open the blade and lunged viciously right at my friend’s stomach. Incredibly, the point of the knife struck Bob’s large metal buckle and the blade snapped off in my hands. Bob raised his eyes from the broken piece of metal in my hand to my face. He was too surprised to say anything. But I could read the terror in his eyes. “I…I…I’m sorry!” I sputtered, then dropped the knife and ran for home, horrified by the realization of what I’d just done.
I burst into our empty house, locked myself in the bathroom, and sank to the floor, miserable and frightened. I could no longer deny that I had a severe anger problem, and that I’d never achieve my dream of being a doctor with an uncontrollable temper. I admitted to myself there was no way I could control it by myself. “Lord, please, you’ve got to help me,” I prayed. “Take this temper away! You promised that if I ask anything in faith, you’ll do it. I believe you can change me.”
I slipped out and got a Bible. Back on the bathroom floor, I opened to the Book of Proverbs. The words of Proverbs 16:32—[“He who is slow to anger is
better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city”]—convicted me, but also gave me hope. I felt God telling me that
although he knew everything about me, he still loved me… That because he made me, he was the only one who could change me… And that he would. Gradually I stopped crying, my hands quit shaking, and I was filled with the assurance that God had answered my prayer.
Uncontrolled anger has never again been a threat to me or those around me. God has provided and will provide whatever strength I need to control my anger. – Dr. Ben Carson (Take the Risk, Zondervan, 2008)
His career almost died before it started, due to an out of control temper. Only in dying to anger did he find life. When will we learn the way of Christ? Because He made us, only He can change us. Reach out to Him today. Die before Dying… it is the only way to live.