Archive for October, 2010

Audio File: Gospel-Driven Counseling for Suffering (Psalm 102)

In many ways, it is clearer to counsel sin than suffering. The objective in counseling sin is obvious — stop it! But let us not mistake that for being easy, that would minimize the power of sin. But when counseling suffering the objective is not clear. Suffering is the revolting of life against the law of cause and effect. No longer does the principle of sowing and reaping apply. The theological definition of suffering is pain that is not caused by our sin.

It is also much easier to bridge from sin to the gospel than it is to bridge from suffering to the gospel. With sin the gospel calls us to repent and trust in the work of Christ on the cross. With suffering we have nothing to repent. We feel as powerless to change our suffering as we were to cause our suffering. This makes the suffering more intense and confusing.

With all of those challenges being noted, this presentation given at The Young Theologians Conference in Piedmont, South Carolina attempts to explore how the gospel prepares us to counsel suffering. It does so, not by delineating principles or action steps, but by unpacking the testimony of Psalm 102. Just before this presentation, a written testimony was read from a couple who were grieving the loss of their 23 year old son. The opening prayer acknowledges and responds to their testimony.

To download this audio file click here

 

Goodness as Safety or Danger

A Counselor Reflects on Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

“If the universe is not governed by an absolute goodness, then all our efforts are in the long run hopeless. But if it is, then we are making ourselves enemies to that goodness everyday, and are not likely to do any better tomorrow… God is the only comfort, He is also the supreme terror; the thing we most need and the thing we most want to hide from. He is our only possible ally, and we have made ourselves His enemy… Goodness is either the great safety or the great danger—according to the way you react to it. And we have reacted the wrong way (p. 31).” Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

Culturally, we have cheapened the word “good.” We have equated it with getting a C in school (a B is “above average” and an A is “excellent”). For this reason, we feel no awkwardness or trembling when we say, “God is good,” because we assume we are good too. We all assume that 51% of the world is morally worse off than we are.

I believe it is this misunderstanding of what it means to be “good” that accounts for the general apathy both in the church and the culture. Sure, we believe that there is room for improvement in our lives and that God can help us with that. But we do not believe that we desperately need such a change and that a good God could

have nothing to do with us as we are.

This is why I am surprised that “Amazing Grace” is still such a popular song, even among non-Christians.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Grace is only amazing if we are “wretched.” Grace only “teaches my heart to fear” if I desperately needed the grace I was given. Then my “relief” can match the intensity of my fear.

With this in mind, we must be careful not to tell people that God is willing to be their friend until we have told them (and they have grasped) that they are currently God’s enemy (Rom 5:10; Eph 2:1-3). This is the great Catch-22 Lewis is spotlighting—God’s goodness is our greatest danger and our only hope.

This truth is what clarifies so much of the confusion that exists in our culture. Our culture assumes that we are good and builds all its educational, political, psychological, and motivational philosophies upon that assumption. Then they are confused, angry, or in denial when it does not work.

We can call out (with grace) your math was off at the first step—people are not inherently good. We are not even born neutral. You are trying to solve a problem that you claim has no beginning (culture was corrupted without corrupt people in it). We can then invite them into a conversation (towards the Gospel) only after they have begun to consider its starting point.

The Importance of Daily Living – Ephesians 5:15-21

Wisdom, Time, Then Marriage (5:15, 16, 22ff)

I would venture to guess that most people who prepare to teach on marriage from Ephesians 5 do begin with the context of verses 15 and 16 (although some do begin with verse 18). Yet when we look at Paul’s instructions on wisdom and time, the marital implications are huge, especially if we are to do justice to the controversial teachings on headship and submission.

Couples will have little trouble applying verses 22-33 if both individuals humbly acknowledge their constant need to evaluate whether they are making wise choices (v. 15) and evaluate their use of time to make sure it is being given to matters of first importance (v. 16). However, when we begin to make foolish choices and waste time, then headship and submission become a nasty, contentious debate.

Application: Give yourself completely to the teaching of Scripture and examine your use of time carefully.  If you are unwilling to do this, then you do not have a marital problem. You have a hard, proud heart that believes you know better than God what makes a “good” life. Paul says to “look carefully (v. 15) at these matters. The verb “look” is both a command and in the present tense implies a continual need for this action.

The Will of the Lord (5:17)

 

It is peace-giving to see how casually Paul speaks of the will of God. He simply says, “Do not be foolish, but understand what the will of God is (v. 17).” The opposite of the will of God is foolishness. We often try to make God’s will so much harder than that. God’s will can be summed up as what happens in your life as you love God and love others in daily life.

When we think of fulfilling God’s will, we (or at least me) feel like it should be some emotionally powerful moment with grand eternal significance. Most days the will of God can be summarized by waking up with gratitude for the day, seeking to learn more of God in His Word, working hard at the tasks given to you, seeking opportunity to share God with others, and loving those around you well, especially your family.

Application: Remember daily faithfulness prepares you to be ready t

o fulfill God’s will. Daily faithfulness prepares others to receive you as God’s messenger of evangelism, encouragement, or confrontation. Daily faithfulness is where you draw the strength and faith to act on God’s unique callings on your life. Daily faithfulness is how you gain sensitivity to God’s particular promptings.

Giving Thanks Always

After reading The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom I will never be able to read Ephesians 5:20 the same again. I will summarize one scene from the book here and highly encourage you to read her powerful true story for yourself.

Corrie and her family were arrested by the Nazi’s in World War II for helping the Jews escape. She and her sister were separated from their father and placed in a concentration camp. They faced many brutalities. God was faithful to keep them together, allow them to smuggle their Bible from camp to camp, and frequently give them favor with the guards.

After changing camps and being introduced to a new cell and inmates, Corrie was struggling (understandably so) with anger and bitterness. Her sister reminded Corrie they were to “give thanks always and in everything.” After resisting, Corrie could give thanks to God that they had not been separated and that they still had their Bible. Then Corrie began to be bitten by fleas. Her sister asked Corrie to give thanks for the fleas. Corrie could/would not.

Many days during their evening Bible study Corrie commented to the fellow inmates that the guards never checked on the barracks in this camp. She was pleased to have uninterrupted Bible study and prayer during these hard days. Another lady, not knowing the previous conversation with Corrie’s sister, said, “It is because of the fleas. They won’t come near the barracks.” Finally, Corrie was able to give thanks always and in everything.

When you struggle to give thanks, pray that God would give you faith in His character even if you never understand the situation. If you are in a particularly hard situation of suffering, I would further recommend The Hiding Place as a book that gives testimony to the power of God through gratitude, love, and forgiveness over gross injustice, oppression, and pain.

Introduction to the “Living Our Faith” series.

Gratitude as Weakness

You might read the title of this post and assume that I was implying that gratitude was a bad thing. But that would be because you might assume that weakness was a bad thing. Actually I am saying the opposite of both. Gratitude is a good thing because weakness is a good thing.

Most of our relational civilities are built upon the assumption that it is safe to be weak in trusted relationships.  Whenever we say, “Thank you… I like… that was nice… would you… please… excuse me… yes sir, etc…” we are making ourselves vulnerable to a harsh response. The other person could say, “You better say thank you… I don’t like… don’t expect it again… who do you think I am… No!” or ignore us.

Beyond a harsh response, we also are declaring the other person as worthy of honor. Kings and Queens stand for the presence of no one and have no need of the words “Thank you.” When we are grateful we are declaring I am not a king or queen. When we are grateful with a glad heart we are saying that we do not have to be a king or queen in order to be safe or secure.

With this in mind, consider Jesus’ words in Mark 9:35:

“If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”

The problem with being a king or queen is that everyone is a threat to your position. There can be only one king or queen (unless you live in a fantasy world like Narnia, of course). In the norm

al scope of thing being “first” is lonely and unsafe.

It is only in the kingdom of God that being first can be shared and safe.  In heaven, where competition will be eliminated, gratitude will be natural because strength will be irrelevant. We are invited to begin living that way now. We are encouraged to pray that this would be more common in the Lord’s Prayer:

“Your will be done one earth as it is in heaven (Matt 6:10b).”

When we conduct our homes, friendship, and workplaces in a manner that makes strength irrelevant and gratitude natural, we are making those environments more “heavenly.” Unfortunately, in our fallen world this often takes great courage and sometimes results in suffering.

However, when this happens let us resist the temptation to envy the powerful person who has made gratitude unnatural. Rather, let us pity this person as being trapped in a relational world that requires strength in order to be safe. Our compassion will likely increase their anger (at least at first) because receiving compassion (another relational civility) requires admitting weakness.

As their anger increases, so will their conviction (Heb 11:7). But we must remember than while we do not succumb to the false gospel of their anger (“strength will deliver me”), we are not a slave to their demanding (Rom 12:17-18 implies we can walk away when things are unreasonable).

Our goal, however, is to live in the safety of the gospel as an open invitation to those around us and to be able to echo the words of Paul in II Corinthians 12:9 at all times:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.”

Only a Person Can Forgive

A Counselor Reflects on Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

“If God is like the Moral Law, then He is not soft. It is no use, at this stage, saying that what you mean by a ‘good’ God is a God who can forgive. You are going too quickly. Only a Person can forgive (p. 30).” Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

A bit of context for this quote might help us get started. Lewis is explaining that an argument for moral absolutes is not the same as proving the existence of the God of the Bible. We can prove that there is such as thing as right and wrong without validating the Bible. We can even prove that “all have sinned” against this moral code without pointing people to God as the solution for this dilemma.

Lewis’ point here (at least as I understand it) is that the Gospel is bigger than a set of truths; it requires a Person, because only a person can forgive. Trees, rocks, computers, nor ideas can forgive. They lack personhood.

In our day and age, we have depersonalized most transactions. The progression for bartering to cash to checks to credit cards to on-line banking means that we see less of what we are giving and of who we are giving it to in each transaction.

When we reduce the Gospel to a set of principles or “laws” we risk doing the same. No longer do we look into the eyes of the One who is taking our sin and giving us His righteousness in exchange. We just consider salvation “a great deal” like the ultimate

e-bay bargain. We have depersonalized God so that we don’t mind ripping Him off if he is “dumb enough to make the offer.”

In depersonalizing God our salvation becomes an evidence of how clever we are. We begin to look for similar “bargains” in the Christian life, especially in the moral or missional domains. We do not want to bare the “cost” of our faith limiting our choices ethically (based upon the prohibitions of Scripture) or missionally (sacrificing to advance the Gospel).

Yet when we return the basic principle that Lewis sets forth “only a person can forgive,” we are rescued from these temptations.  Passages like Genesis 12:1-3 make more sense:

Now the Lord had said unto Abram, “Go from your country, and your kindred, and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that your will be a blessing: And I will bless those that bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Abram was receiving a blessing from a Person (God) for a purpose (missions). Abram did not find a business strategy or a more effective purpose statement that he could own or use. Abram did not read a book that he could master or understand better than others. He met a Person who offered a relationship that would define the rest of his life.

As we seek to live out the Gospel and share it with others, I believe it is imperative that we consistently remember that the Gospel requires a personal God in order for it to be the real Gospel. We do not offer a deal that is “too good to be true” but a relationship that will redefine someone’s entire life.

Being Like Our Father – Ephesians 5:1-14

As Beloved Children (5:1)

Many people (rightly) say that they do not know how to relate to God as Father. Usually this is because of the harshness or absence of their biological father. However, when we state the problem this way we distract from half of the problem. It is equally true and disruptive that we do not know how to be God’s children. In abusive or neglectful homes children are required to be miniature adults.

Children get to be protected as they play and explore their world. Children are allowed to make mistakes and then are lovingly corrected or instructed as needed afterwards. Children can rest in the fact that their parents will provide for and protect them. Children require that the same lesson be taught multiple times in various ways before it becomes a habitual part of their life. Children are encouraged to imitate their parents’ actions, words, and emotions and develop a healthy, godly character as they do so.

Reflection: As you read through the list (brief sampling) of what it means to be a child in a healthy home, what actions are unnatural for you. Do you know how to be a child? In light of this reflection consider Jesus’ words in Mark 10:15, “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” Then consider how Jesus’ rebuked/reminded the disciples of their relationship to God when they were worried about financial hardship in Mark 10:24, “And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, ‘Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God!’”

Must Not Even Be Named Among You (5:2)

 

It would be easy to read these words in the tone of embarrassed parents scolding their child after the child sinned in public, “I don’t even want that kind of action spoken about our family!” But this is not Paul’s tone. Paul is concerned for God’s reputation and the church’s influence not his social status nor even the social status of any given church member. Paul would gladly be embarrassed so long as the Gospel was not disgraced (I Cor 1:17-31). This is why his words had influence; they were not about him.

It is important to note that Paul’s list of sins to avoid range from sleeping with your neighbor’s wife to being jealous of your neighbor’s i-phone. Paul was not being emotionally

reactive to a certain class of taboo sins, as if he were embarrassed to have to talk about sex. Paul was not annoyed by a problem that was inconveniencing him (Ephesians is unique amongst Paul’s letters because it does not appear to be written in response to a problem in the church). Paul is simply reminding the church of Who they represent and the importance being holy ambassadors.

Reflection: How much does embarrassment motivate your pursuit of holiness? When this is the case it reveals that we are “being good” out of a fear of man much more than a fear of God. If this is a struggle for you consider memorizing Proverbs 29:25, “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.” When we are motivated by fear of man we are more concerned with the social fall out of our sin (who gets upset or offended) more than the condition of our heart (which we must see in order to be able to genuinely repent).

No Crude Joking

Paul is clear that crude joking has no place in the life of a Christian (Eph 5:4). This begins with making jokes about or finding entertainment in subjects of an immoral subject (i.e., sex outside marriage, violence, racial prejudice, illegal activity). All such behavior should be stopped immediately and repented of to God and to those with whom such actions were engaged.

A second area of application is making jokes at the expense of loved ones. The following types of joking demonstrate a lack of honor for one’s spouse, children, friends, or co-workers

  • Verbal jabs about their insecurities or weaknesses
  • Sarcasm (otherwise known as “violence through humor”)
  • Comparisons to unbecoming people
  • Complimenting someone else to get a “rise” out of them
  • References to past mistakes or faux pas
  • Condescending jokes in front of others
  • Suggestions of leaving or being aggressive
  • Derogatory remarks regarding friends or other loved ones
  • Belittling their interests or hobbies
  • Using nicknames that are unappreciated

We must remember that humor has great influence. Hence, funny commercials sell more products. We reveal what we value and shape those around us by our punch lines. Let us (frequently) use our quick wit, story telling, and ironic statements for the glory of God!

Introduction to the “Living Our Faith” series.

Idols of Sin vs. Idols of Suffering

What is an idol? Simply put, an idol is anything we place our security, hope, identity, pleasure, or ambition in more than God. When we look to an object, person, or activity to make us fulfilled or complete we are committing idolatry. When a certain temporal value or priority determines what is right-wrong, worth our time, or friend-enemy then that thing has our heart.

For most Christians that is not a novel definition (at least I hope not). But there comes a point where that definition is very challenging to apply. What happens when the idol is something that God intends for me to have?

  • A young girl wants an absent father’s love so she is willing to compromise with her boyfriend to be affirmed.
  • Someone has been abused and wants to feel safe so they seek comfort through an unhealthy habit (i.e., smoking, over eating, etc…).
  • After repeated rejection and ridicule an individual commits to being a people-pleaser in order to be part of a community.

This is not to imply that all pre-marital sex, smoking, over eating, and people-pleasing results from the above mentioned situations. However, we want to recognize that some people engage in these activities in the pursuit of pleasure while others do so as an escape from suffering.

With either motive

the actions are wrong and the activity/relationship is seeking to fill a role that only God can fill. Yet they are replacing God in different ways. My attempt to capture this difference is to coin the phrase “idols of suffering.”

We most naturally think of “idols of sin.” We want something we do not think God will or can give us so we seek it outside of His commands or character. We are blinded by our desire and we are crying for freedom.

With “idols of suffering” we want what God offers but due to broken life circumstances it is largely unavailable. We are looking for the closest thing we can find to what God offers in an attempt to make life work. We are confused by pain and want relief more than freedom.

In both cases our actions are morally wrong and doomed to failure. The most gracious thing that can happen is for our idolatry to be unmasked as a God-counterfeit. Yet the tone of this conversation would be different based upon the two situations.

“And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.”  (1 Thes. 5:14)

In this passage Paul is assuming that the idle, fainthearted, and weak are all living outside God’s will (or else there would be no need for intervention). Paul is pointing out that it is not enough to merely know the sin. We must also know the sinner and the situation.

We may know the answer, but not the question or the context. If we are going to minister effectively, we must take the time and spend the effort necessary to know all three.

If this post was beneficial for you, then considering reading other blogs from my “Favorite Posts on Counseling Theory” post which address other facets of this subject.

If this post was beneficial for you, then considering reading other blogs from my “Favorite Posts on Suffering” post which address other facets of this subject.

We All Want Progress

A Counselor Reflects on Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

“We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man (p.28).” Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

The most dangerous belief is the belief that we are right when we are actually wrong.  From that point forward we will always be asking the wrong question, and inevitably getting the wrong answer. We will want to move forward, not realizing that we have wrongly labeled backward as “forward.”

This difficulty is compounded by the fact that any significant task requires confidence and determination to achieve. If we are doing something worthwhile, we expect opposition and are willing to persevere for the cause. Yet in this case we would be mislabeling hardening our heart as “persevering.”

Motivation for changing our definition is thwarted by what would be required of us. If we admit we have mislabeled progress we will have to “waste time” going back to the point we got off track. Time will need to be spent “undoing” things (never a pleasant endeavor).

It is for these reasons that it is paramount that we live for something bigger than ourselves. And living for ourselves is usually the number one factor in mislabeling “prog

ress.”

Living for God gives us the humility to balance our confidence and determination (not cancel them out). When I live for God’s glory I can be wrong and my purpose still be achieved.  Further, it may be that my error rightly handled will be used for God’s glory more than if I was right in the beginning. The detour would by no means be a short cut (meaning something we would counsel others to do), but it would still serve to advance God’s kingdom.

Living for God’s glory provides the motivation to turn around. If running a race is only about being ahead of others (self-centered progress) and there are people following behind you even if you are going in the wrong direction, turning around will make no sense. If running a race is about reaching a destination (God-centered progress), then you will turn around and encourage those behind you to do the same even if that now means they will be “in the lead.”

The problem for many of us is that we have poorly defined what the progress is that we are after. We live to survive more than we live to pursue. But that merely means that survival is our definition of progress. But this is a demoralizing goal because success only means we must continue striving. Surviving wins you the opportunity to continue to fight for survival.

Even in this God would mercifully call us either to understand our suffering for his glory (I Peter) or to begin to live for something bigger than day-to-day pleasures. What this may look like for any particular person is broader than a single post (or book for that matter) could cover. I would advise you to get plugged into your local church, develop a friendship with a more mature Christian in that church for encouragement or challenge, and look for opportunities to serve in a way that advances the Gospel in the life of others.

Gospel-Rooted Change – Ephesians 4:17-32

A Model of Change

In Ephesians 4:20-24 Paul gives a model of change, rooted in the Gospel, that he illustrates in five examples in verses 25-32. Use the chart below, not only to help you follow the logic of the passage, but also to serve as a way to think about your own battles with sin. Each of the letters (A is on lying; B is on anger, etc…) demonstrate how Paul counsels the Ephesians to overcome that particular sin.

Put Off Your Old Self (v. 22)

A. Falsehood (v. 25)
B. Sinful Anger (v. 26)
C. Stealing (v. 28)
D. Harsh Words (v. 29)
E. Acts & Emotions of Revenge (v. 31)

Be Renewed in the Spirit of Your Mind (v. 23)

A. Recognizing our unity in the church (v. 25)
B. Seeing the opportunity sinful anger gives Satan (v. 27)
C. Learn to value generosity more than prosperity (v. 28)
D. Tearing down others grieves God (v. 30)
E. Recognize the extent of forgiveness you have received (v. 32)

Put On the New Self (v. 24)

A. Speak the truth (v. 25)
B. Deal with differences quickly (v. 26)
C. Work for your goods (v. 28)
D. Speak to give grace (v. 29)
E. Act and relate out of forgiveness (v. 32)

 

From Lying to Truth-Telling (4:25)

Too often we seek to cure sin by appealing to the same selfishness that made sin tempting. Our children lie, so we tell them, “You will never truly get what you wanted by lying.” While this is true, it leaves the child rooted in the same self-centeredness that made lying seem like a good idea in the first place.

Paul makes a different appeal when he says, “Do not lie because you are members one of another (i.e., church, family, class, humanity).” Paul reveals that the true poison of deceit is not merely its falseness, but the belief that (nay, more the delight in) I can win by someone else losing. W

hen I am willing to sacrifice you for me, then I have broken the command to love my neighbor as myself.

Illustration: In football, a wide receiver does not lie to his quarterback about the route he is going to run. Why? They are members of the same team. One cannot succeed without the other succeeding. They both understand this; therefore, they trust one another. It is this core belief about life that protects our hearts from lying without appealing to our carnal nature to restrain our flesh.

Correcting Our Speech (4:29)

 

What is the measure of good communication?  How do we know if we have been “successful” in a given dialogue? How we answer that question will greatly influence how we read our Bible, evaluate our marriages, and discipline our children. If success is to effectively get across whatever I feel, think, or believe, then the purpose of the Bible and others is to validate what I feel, think, or believe.

However, Paul gives us a different definition of success in communication. Paul says good communication gives grace to those who hear as fits the occasion. Grace builds up another person in Christ by affirming truth, confronting sin, or comforting suffering. That is the content of good communication. The tone is “as fits the occasion” and this requires the skill of speaking in age or situation appropriate ways.

Application: Paul further unpacks this principle in 1 Thessalonians 5:14, “And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.” Here we see Paul identifying three different tones of presenting the content of grace based upon the heart attitude of the recipient. Identify a conversation that you had this week that fits each of these tones and consider how your words could have communicated more of the content of grace.

 

Be Angry and Sin Not

Usually in seeking to understand this biblical phrase we skip directly to examples. Most often we begin with an example where we (or someone else) displayed righteous anger (in our opinion). To take a fresh approach, but hopefully not a novel one, let’s begin with the passages. However, this post will assume the “trigger” for your anger is legitimate.

In Ephesians 4:26-27 Paul says:

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.

And he is quoting from Psalm 4:2-5

O men, how long shall my honor be
turned into shame?
How long will you love vain words
and seek after lies?  Selah
But know that the Lord has set apart
the godly for himself;
the Lord hears when I call to him.
Be angry, and do not sin;
ponder in your own hearts on
your beds, and be silent.  Selah
Offer right sacrifices,
and put your trust in the Lord.

The first thing we notice is that the psalmist’s primary reference point is not how late a married couple is willing to stay up to reconcile an argument. The psalmist reference point is the sleepless believer who is troubled by the folly of lost people.

The primary application is not self-control (i.e., biting his tongue), but to recognize that God is both active (setting apart the godly) and aware (listening). Sinful anger, by implication, is anger that assumes that God is neither active nor aware.

The secondary application is reflection (ponder). The folly of sinful culture reveals the lies that our culture believes. Sinful anger focuses our attention on the deceived sinner rather than on unmasking the lie used by the Deceiver to keep them in bondage.

Strangely, the psalmist advises the reader to be silent and to live rightly. The culture (and every individual in that culture) needs conviction before they will assimilate any new information. Our living in God’s freedom spotlights the bondage of Satan’s lies. Notice how Hebrews 11:7 speaks of the life of Noah.

By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

The cure of sinful anger is remembering (1) God is aware and active; and (2) our missional purpose in each relationship. We should only be angered by sin. Sin reveals the activity of Satan—the Deceiver. Our goal is to consider the situation until we understand and can unmask the lie, so as to rescue not merely “prove wrong” the sinner.

This is hard (under-statement). As you prepare for this challenge consider I Peter 3:14-17

But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.