Anger, Wisdom, and Humility

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.
(James 1:19-20 NLT)

Today is Friday, October 9, 2020. Peace be with you!

Day 22,856

TWO DAYS until we head to Broken Bow, OK!

Three days until our 35th wedding anniversary!

And, we have begun our six days of PTO (Paid Time Off, what they call “vacation” now; actually, it also includes “sick leave,” at least in Texas).

I actually slept until almost 8:00 this morning! So I’m feeling pretty well-rested, this morning. According to my Fitbit, I got seven hours and six minutes of sleep with a sleep score of 90. The “sleep score” is “a daily snapshot of your sleep quality and duration.”

It includes “Time Asleep,” “Deep and REM,” and “Restoration.” For “Time Asleep,” I got 46/50 points. I was sleep for 7 hours, 6 minutes, awake 53 minutes over the course of the night. This measurement includes a cool graph that displays the times I was awake. The longest awake times were around the times I had to get up to use the bathroom. The others are times when I probably wouldn’t even recognize that I was awake.

For “Deep and REM,” I got 21/25 points. I had 1 hour and 36 minutes of deep sleep, and 2 hours and 16 minutes of REM sleep. The value of these, according to the Fitbit app, is that “during deep sleep your muscles relax and repair themselves, blood pressure drops and energy is restored. REM is when you’re likely dreaming, which is key for memory and mood.”

One interesting tip that is given is to avoid alcohol three hours before bedtime, as it can suppress REM sleep.

In “Restoration,” I got 23/25 points. In this category, it measures my sleeping heart rate. For 95% of the night, my sleeping heart rate was lower than my resting heart rate. My average sleeping heart rate was 63 bpm. My average resting heart rate is usually around 70 bpm. I only had 5% of the night where my sleeping heart rate was over my resting heart rate, and that bit is tagged as “restless.’

They recommend meditation or breathing exercises before going to sleep, which I did attempt last night. I fell asleep during the exercise.

All of this is courtesy of “Fitbit Premium,” which I got free for a year with my new Fitbit Inspire 2.

Don’t worry. I won’t bore you with this every morning. For one thing, during the work week, I wouldn’t have time. It is fascinating information, though. I never knew how much healing goes on during sleep. Even WW has been teaching us these facts, when the workshop weekly topic deals with sleep.

So. Today, we plan to go to Mineral Wells and have lunch with my mother. We are taking the ingredients (and a pan) for our Pecan-Crusted Buttermilk Chicken, and are going to cook that for her. Oh. That reminds me. I need to print a copy of that recipe to take with us.

Okay. Did that.

I also plan to take a quick side trip to the Crazy Water store and grab a couple cases of Crazy Water #4. I still have almost two full cases, but any time I’m in town, I’m going to buy some.

Tomorrow, we’ll be making last minute preparations for our trip to Broken Bow. A brief grocery run might be necessary. Especially if C eats all the grapes before then. Hahaha!

Lord my God, I believe in you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 
Insofar as I can, insofar as you have given me the power, 
I have sought you. 
I became weary and I labored. 
O Lord my God, my sole hope, help me to believe and 
never to cease seeking you. 
Grant that I may always and ardently seek out your countenance.
 Give me the strength to seek you, 
for you help me to find you and you have more and more 
given me the hope of finding you. 
Here I am before you with my firmness and my infirmity. 
Preserve the first and heal the second. 
Here I am before you with my strength and my ignorance. 
Where you have opened the door to me, 
welcome me at the entrance; 
where you have closed the door to me, 
open to my cry; 
enable me to remember you, 
to understand you, 
and to love you. 
Amen.
(Prayer to Seek God Continually, St. Augustine of Hippo)

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Scriptures and Prayers from The Divine Hours

Oh sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.
(Psalms 98:1 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. For time off from work
  2. For the promise that, if we delight ourselves in You, You will give us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37)
  3. For the promise that we will find You when we seek You
  4. For the admonition to not be angry, but to be filled with humility
  5. For the book of James, which I don’t like to read

Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant. Let your mercy come to me, that I may live; for your law is my delight.
(Psalms 119:76-77 ESV)

I will give thanks to you, O LORD, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. For your steadfast love is great above the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
(Psalms 108:3-4 ESV)

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
(Psalms 90:12 ESV)

“Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.'”
(Luke 17:7-10 ESV)

Trust in the LORD and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires.
Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust him, and he will help you.
He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.
Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.
Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper—it only leads to harm.
For the wicked will be destroyed, but those who trust in the LORD will possess the land.
(Psalms 37:3-9 NLT)

Seek the LORD while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near.
(Isaiah 55:6 NLT)

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. May Your kingdom come, and Your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for Yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

"Merciful God,
who sent your messengers the prophets
to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation:
Grant us grace to heed
their warnings and forsake our sins,
that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ
our Redeemer;
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God,
now and for ever.
Amen."
(The Divine Hours, The Prayer Appointed for the Week)

A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. The tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing, but the mouth of a fool belches out foolishness.
(Proverbs 15:1-2 NLT)

A hot-tempered person starts fights; a cool-tempered person stops them.
(Proverbs 15:18 NLT)

If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise. If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself; but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding. Fear of the LORD teaches wisdom; humility precedes honor.
(Proverbs 15:31-33 NLT)

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.
(James 1:19-20 NLT)

Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!
(Romans 12:16 NLT)

How do you handle criticism?

I’ll confess right away that I do not handle it very well. Especially depending on from whom it comes.

But I have two different kinds of anger when confronted with criticism.

If I am told that I made a mistake, and it is proven to be true (I’ve never claimed to be perfect), I become angry at myself, because I loathe making mistakes. I WANT to be perfect! At least when it comes to my job responsibilities. The other day, I was shown a mistake that I had made. I was picking a part, and I went to the location, and there was a large crate. The lid was loose, so I pulled the crate, strapped the lid down, and sent it out.

Turns out there were five pieces in that crate, not one. I didn’t check the putaway label, or the inventory count. I assumed that the crate held one piece. It all worked out okay, because the reason the mistake came up was that the customer had submitted an order for the other four pieces. When the picker went to get them, the location was, of course, empty.

I was very angry with myself. My friend who pointed out the error tried to soothe me by telling me that that whoever did the putaway should have taken the top of the crate completely away, so that it was evident that there were multiple parts in there. Nevertheless, the fault is mine because I didn’t verify the stock.

But another way that I react is with anger toward the person doing the criticizing. One time, I went to a person to apologize for something I said, or at least in the manner that it was said. That person then spent the next fifteen minutes telling me why I was wrong, and so on. That didn’t set well with me. Frankly, that’s not, in my opinion, the way to accept an apology. And that person tends to think he’s right about everything.

I would say that, in both cases, the anger is out of order. I make mistakes. No, I don’t like to make mistakes, but that doesn’t mean that I should get so angry with myself when I make them. I should simply accept the facts, learn from them, and move on, taking whatever action is necessary to make sure that I don’t repeat that mistake.

In the second instance, people are going to be who they are. My anger in that situation didn’t help anything. And, of course, I, being who I am, did not express that anger. Well, I may have expressed it to my wife, later.

Look back up there at those verses from my least favorite book of the Bible, James. (Yes, I would rather read Leviticus than James. Why? Because Leviticus doesn’t constantly punch me in the gut. I would rather be bored than convicted.)

Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.

Period.

Dallas Willard said (“there he goes again with that Dallas Willard guy”), “There is nothing that can be done in anger that cannot be done better without it.” On a related note, he also said, “The person who has the most power in your life is the person you have not forgiven.”

So how do we prevent anger? Proverbs gives us answers. A gentle answer; wisdom that “makes knowledge appealing.” In these tumultuous pre-election times, anger is not going to change anyone’s mind. But gentle words might at least get someone to listen to your point of view. And the concept of “How can anyone who calls themselves a Christian vote for . . .” should just be thrown out with yesterday’s garbage.

I am easily angered, it’s true. I don’t always express it, but my wife can tell. And some days, I just wake up mad at the world, for no apparent reason.

Wisdom and fear of the Lord are two good resolutions. Another verse up there from Proverbs says, “Fear of the LORD teaches wisdom; humility precedes honor.

Ooh. Humility. Another gut-punch. And not even from James!

Father, I hesitate to pray for humility, because I know what kind of trials that can bring. Tests that produce humility are, well, humiliating. But that’s the point, isn’t it? So I need more humility in my life. And I need less anger. I confess . . . I get angry over silly things. The Internet doesn’t work right; some technology doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to. Someone at work asks a question that I feel like they should already know the answer to, or maybe I have even already provided the answer. Humility and wisdom would not allow anger in those situations. So, I pray that Your Holy Spirit would produce more humility in me. Calm my soul and help me to always have a gentle answer.

I pray for peace in our nation, peace in our world. I pray for racial injustice to end, and I pray for the pandemic to be over. Above all else, though, I pray for Your will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
(Irish Blessing)

Grace and peace, friends.

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