Killing The Spider And Eliminating Anger Management

                            By Phil Scovell

          A few years ago,  I recall hearing about the small  toys sold for
     personal anger management.  They were soft toys that one could pick up
     from  their desk, or  which they could  pull from a  drawer, when they
     felt anger or frustration, stress  or pressure, and throw them against
     a nearby wall.  The  soft toy would then  say something such as,  "Oh,
     that felt  good," or,  "What a relief."   They  sometimes just  made a
     noise like breaking glass or a groaning sound.  This was advertised to
     assist  office workers  to passively  diminish,  or otherwise,  manage
     their feelings of anger.  Did it work?  Sure, to a point but the anger
     never went away.

          My favorite all  time Christian joke is about  the little boy who
     had the right theological idea.  The story goes this way.

          Every Sunday night, the pastor of  the small church would call on
     elderly Brother Jones to close in prayer.   The man prayed eloquently,
     with flowing glowing  words of majesty, and then,  just before saying,
     "Amen," he would say, "And Lord, just clean all those spider  webs out
     of our lives."  Sunday night after  Sunday night, these exact words by
     the same Godly man were spoken in his closing prayer.

          finally, one night Johnny, now 10 years of age, and who had heard
     this same prayer for literally years, couldn't stand it any longer and
     following the  closing prayer by Brother Jones, went to speak with the
     elderly  man.    "Brother  Jones,"  he  said  honestly  and sincerely,
     "instead of  cleaning out all  those spider  webs from our  lives each
     week, why don't we just find that spider and kill him."

          I tell this  story so many times,  the people in my  church grown
     every time  they hear  it now.   The  story has  such great  spiritual
     application, though, I use  it every chance I get because  it proves a
     very good point.  It also fits this topic of our problems with anger.

          Anger is a natural, or should I say, unnatural, coping mechanism.
     Throwing a  soft toy against the  wall that squeaks  or says something
     funny upon impact, slamming  a door hard, smacking your fist into your
     palm, throwing something, swearing, honking the car horn and screaming
     in your car at someone getting in your way, giving someone the finger,
     kicking a chair across the room, are just a few of the more mild forms
     of  released  anger.    Slapping  your child  or  your  wife,  driving
     recklessly,  committing road  rage, getting  stone  drunk, throwing  a
     chair through a window, kicking  the family dog into  unconsciousness,
     punching  the guy  out at  the ball  game because  he is in  your way,
     punching a  hole in the  sheet rock, for  which you'll have  to repair
     later, unless,  of course,  your fist hit  a stud  and you  broke your
     hand,  waving your  unloaded handgun  around and  acting like  you are
     going to shoot your wife, are a few of the more violent forms of anger
     release.  All,  however, are indications of something  much deeper and
     that is exactly where you are going to have to go, that is, deeper, if
     you want to be totally free from anger.  That's right.  I said you can
     be totally free from anger.

          Now, lest  the reader think  I am perfect,  I have kicked  a door
     down, pounded my hands on the table top so hard,  the bruises hurt for
     a couple of weeks,  thrown a small hand held tape  recorder across the
     room, threw a  glass of water at  the wall, kicked a  few things until
     they were  broken, slammed doors so hard glass  broke, and a few other
     things I don't even  specifically recall now.  I never thought I had a
     temper or a problem with anger  either.  In fact, whenever I  did such
     things, the anger felt good.  I was remorseful afterwards,  of course,
     but I figured,  since I was a  Godly Christian, that was  a good thing
     because  it meant I must not really have  meant it in the first place.
     Plus, I used  to always say, "It takes  me a long time to  get mad but
     when I do,  I really get mad.   Once it is  over, it's over and  it is
     ok."  Yeah, sure it was.  Besides,  I always confessed my anger as sin
     to the Lord so that made everything ok.  Right?  I was being Biblical,
     wasn't I?  So, if you said you were sorry later, it  was ok to release
     a little  anger once and awhile.  Right?  Sure, of course.  Let me ask
     you a  question.  How  much is  too much,  or not enough,  anger?   Of
     course, you realize I am not asking you that question but Jesus is.

          Today we have specialists, highly educated professionals, getting
     thousands  of dollars  an  hour  to come  to  corporations to  conduct
     management anger classes.  It almost  always focuses on how to defuse,
     or  otherwise short  circuit, the  anger  when it  begins to  surface.
     Quite simply, lets side track the anger before it is released.  Sounds
     great.   Does it work?   It helps, most  likely, but why not  kill the
     spider so we don't have all those sticky disgusting spider webs around
     in the first  place.  At  your next anger  management class, ask  your
     instructor or  therapist about  killing the spider  and see  what they
     say.  If they don't understand, tell them the joke I just told you and
     ask them for comments.  You won't like what they say.  The bottom line
     is, they don't believe it is that easy and they don't believe  you can
     be anger free.

          A  few  years ago,  during  a  very desperate  time  of  my life,
     thinking I was going crazy due to anxiety and panic attacks  that were
     off  the scale, I had a single session  with a psychologist.  She told
     me, whenever I  felt the anxiety attack coming, to picture a huge stop
     sign in my mind and focus on it.  Did it work?  What do you think?  Do
     these government and  private industry anger management  classes help?
     That is, do their management coping techniques work?   Sure they help.
     The  real question is,  does it kill  the spider?   Maybe the question
     should be, which do you prefer; coping or eliminating your anger?

          Back in the late seventies, I was an assistant pastor in  a small
     town in western  Colorado.   Just before  moving to  this small  town,
     someone gave my wife a box of canning jars all packed very nicely.  In
     the  small church we  were working in,  a lady  called me one  day and
     asked if I would find that box of canning jars for her.   She said she
     would  come over, they didn't  live far away, and pick  them up and do
     some canning for my wife and I.  I went  out into our attached garage,
     dug around until I found the large box and as I began pulling it  free
     in  order to carry it  into the house,  my hands came  in contact with
     some spider webbing.  It felt totally different than any spider  web I
     had ever felt.  It was tough, strong, and when I tried  pulling it off
     the box and away from my fingers, it felt almost as if it were made of
     elastic.  I thought nothing more about it.  The box had hand holes cut
     into the side of either end so sticking my hand into one end, I pulled
     the box  free and carried  it into the  house.  I  sat the box  on our
     counter top and a few minutes later, the lady stopped by and picked up
     the box.  About  a half an hour  later, our phone rang and  I answered
     it.  Jo Ann  said, "Phil, I  am unpacking the canning  jars.  Did  you
     know there was  a black widow  spider inside?"   I told her  about the
     spider webbing I had  pulled away from the box and  she informed me to
     stop screwing around with stuff in  the garage because those types  of
     webs were characteristic  of black widows.  I was  indeed careful from
     then on.   Let me ask  you this question.   Do you think  just knowing
     there was  a spider got rid of it?  Of course not and just knowing you
     have anger, and ripping away the cobwebs won't make the spider go away

          Anger isn't the problem.   Anger means something hurts some place
     deep down  inside.   The  display  of outward  anger allows  for  some
     emotional  relief  but   anger,  carefully  guarded,   suppressed  and
     repressed, and held in,  can, and does, create physical  problems.  In
     other words,  the anger  dumps into the  body somewhere and  there are
     physical responses to that anger.

          A few years  ago, I  was attending  a small church.   The  pastor
     invited  me to sort of work as his assistant  pastor.  I did so.  As I
     got  to  know him,  I really  grew  to love  him.   His  preaching and
     teaching was as  good as any I  had ever heard  and he seemed to  like
     people.   He  was humorous  and enjoyed  having a  good  time even  in
     church.   He could sing well, was excellent  at leading worship, and I
     felt he should have  been pastoring a church of 500  people instead of
     20  or so  we had  in  this particular  church.   He had  one problem,
     though, and that was anger and he didn't know it.

          As I got to know him and learned about his early life as a child,
     I learned why  he was angry.  He  used his anger to  push people away.
     Yes, it  worked every  time.   His anger  was right  down alarming  at
     times.   He had taken a church of about 100 people and in 12 years, he
     was down to about  6 members.  The  church bills were not  being paid,
     the pastor wasn't getting enough to live  on, and he began blaming his
     own  church.  He  also experience  horrible back  pain at  times which
     would, on occasion,  take him out of  ministry for several weeks  at a
     time.  Was  this due to anger?   I know it  was for a fact  based upon
     things he would tell me personally.

          Eventually, since he  was using me  as a  sounding board for  his
     anger and  he was literally  naming individuals  in the  church to  me
     privately,  I  felt,  as  his  brother  in  the  Lord,  the  need  for
     accountability.   During one of his angry  displays one day, I pointed
     out to  him what he  was doing to  him and his  own people.   This man
     prided himself  on knowing the  Word.  In order  to allow a  place for
     anger to exist in his life as a pastor, he insisted  upon arguing from
     a strictly Biblical standpoint.  Let me illustrate what I mean.

          during one  of his down  times due to  his back being  out, I was
     taking his  place.  He had called  and told me to tell  the handful of
     people we still had at that time, that we needed about 250 dollars for
     church expenses.   His wife played  the piano and  she was there  that
     day.   I felt led for all of us  to gather around her and to lay hands
     on her  to pray for her, the pastor,  and their physical and financial
     needs.   I think she had a cold  herself that day.  I then said, after
     we prayed, that I had 160 dollars left from  my income tax return that
     I would put  toward the church  financial need.   Others began  saying
     what they would  put in.  My  youngest son and his  wife, for example,
     spoke up and he said he would cover the balance.   Others spoke up and
     said  they would put  in certain dollar  amounts and we  ended up with
     over 300 dollars.

          Later,  the pastor  was complaining  to  me over  the phone  that
     people were not giving  enough and that was our problem.   Our problem
     wasn't that at all.  You cannot have six members in your church, three
     of which  are in their  seventies and  living on social  security, and
     have big  Sunday  offerings.   The problem  was we  were not  reaching
     anyone with  the Gospel.  The church,  in other words, was spiritually
     dead.   Yes,  can you  believe that?   A spiritually  dead Charismatic
     church?   By the way, the number of people you have does not determine
     if your church is alive or  dead.  We have had Holy Ghost  worship and
     praise and shouting  times in the living  room of my home  many times.
     You  don't even  need,  for that  matter,  a  church building.    Why?
     Because, if you are  born again, you are a part of  the Body of Christ
     and where 2 or 3 are gathered together, Christ is in their midst.

          During this angry outburst  my pastor was experiencing, he  said,
     "Nobody even  came and offered to pray for me and anoint me with oil."
     The tone to  his voice was harsh,  bitter, and hostile.   He said this
     right  after he complained that we, the church, were not giving enough
     to the  church financially.   I pointed  out to  him his  attitude was
     wrong.  I told him that I personally thought of asking my son to drive
     with  me out to  his home,  which was 30  minutes from  the church, to
     anoint him  with oil  and to lay  hands on  him but  I didn't for  two
     reasons.   First, he,  the pastor, never  asked.   Secondly, I  didn't
     think, even if  I went, he would  allow me to pray for  him based upon
     his attitude.   Yes, I  told him both things.   He wanted  me to prove
     what I said from the Bible so read the following instructions given to
     us by James.

     "14  Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church;
     and let  them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the
     Lord:  15   And the prayer of faith shall save the  sick, and the Lord
     shall raise  him up;  and if  he have  committee sins,  they shall  be
     forgiven him.  16   Confess your faults one  to another, and pray  one
     for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer  of a
     righteous man availeth much," (James 5:14-16).

          Do you see it?   If you are sick, you are to  call for the elders
     of the church.  Our pastor was too proud to call for the elders of his
     church to anoint him with oil.   I pointed out to him that  it was his
     responsibility to call  for us to  come and pray for  him and not  the
     other way  around.  He  backed down  and admitted that  was Biblically
     right but his pride kept his anger in place.

          That is another aspect  of anger which  is rarely seen, that  is,
     pride.  You will  always find pride under  anger.  How  do I know?   I
     have experienced  it myself following an almost fit  of rage I had one
     evening arguing  with my  youngest son.   I  said things,  and thought
     things, that were so unchristian, when my son left, I sat in my office
     and cried  like a baby and tried  to figure out why I  had exploded in
     cataclysmic rage.  As  I prayed, sobbing, begging God to  show me what
     was  wrong, He told me it  was caused by pride.   I was so emotionally
     upset, I was unable to pray about this one by myself.  Two days later,
     as I sat in  a man's office and  we shared a prayer  session together,
     the Lord healed me in  many places I never knew existed.   If you want
     to read about  this experience of healing, read  my personal testimony
     called, "I Flew Kites With Jesus."

          I have learned from both personal experience, and through praying
     with others, anger is used to cover the truth.  What truth?  The truth
     about how  we really feel about ourselves,  the fear that frightens us
     so much,  we has suppressed  it almost out  of our consciousness,  The
     doubts we have about  how others see us, the guilt that  we maybe just
     aren't good  enough and God  isn't happy,  and the fear  the somebody,
     maybe even in the church, is going to find out what we are really like
     and if they do, they won't  like us.  The fear generated by  rejection
     alone is Titanic and we will do anything to keep that from happening.

          Fortunately, there is a  way of living free  from anger and  from
     the fear of anger.  No, there is not a single answer because everybody
     is  different.  Yes,  there are common elements  to anger and frankly,
     most  people, when  prayed with,  discover they  have anger  that they
     never knew was there.  Like me, for example.

          How  about you, now?   Isn't it  time you let Jesus  show you the
     truth  about who He is and who you are  so you can be anger free?  Let
     Jesus show you how to kill the  spider creating all those webs in your
     life that are trying to hinder your intimate relationship with Him.

                               End Of Document

     Safe Place Fellowship
     Phil Scovell
     Denver, Colorado - Mountain Time Zone
     Web:  WWW.SafePlaceFellowship.COM
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