Are You Slow to Become Angry? // Jeremy Mattek // Time of Grace // Grace Talks
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I recently discovered yet another reason I probably never want to live in Siberia. Because in Siberia, your town might get invaded by a pack of 50 wild
polar bears (laughs). That recently happened
to one town in Siberia, where a group of about 50 polar bears decided to come into town and of course, they weren’t
nice and polite polar bears. They started attacking
people on the streets, they’re digging through people’s garbage, making people scared, they
had to stay in their homes and kind of afraid and worried
about what would happen to them if they confronted
one these wild beasts and after it was clear
that the polar bears were going to stay for a while, they stayed for about
two months in this town. Over the course of time, the local government gave all the citizens very clear instructions on
what they were supposed to do if they happened to have a run-in with one of these polar bears. And do you know what the
residents were supposed to do if they happened to come face to face with one of these wild beasts? Nothing. The government clearly
said, “Do not hurt them, do not shoot them, do not harm these wild beasts who are causing so much difficulty in the life of everyone.”
And why not? Because polar bears are
an endangered species and they need to do everything they can to protect
these precious animals. Do you think that was an easy … Do you think those were easy instructions for those residents to carry out? I don’t know. But I think those
instructions might be easier than carrying out some
of the instructions that we receive in the word of God. For example, in, in the book of James, we’re told this, where it says, “Everyone
should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry”. “Slow to become angry”. It’s not always an easy thing. I was reading a book
written by a pastor who in his book was
talking about his mom who died giving birth to him. And the reason he was
talking about his mom who died giving birth
to him was because he was talking about his
relationship with his dad, who he says resented him, blamed him for his wife dying. He said he never remembers his father doing anything affectionate for him, never saying a kind word to him. He says when he was nine years old, he remembers his dad once
putting his arm around him for 30 seconds at a funeral and that was it. His dad died when he was 12. And do you know how he said
he felt when his dad died? Relieved. He felt relieved. He felt relieved. Do you know what his dad was? In his mind, his dad was his enemy. I know with the word enemy
we think of terrorists and hijackers, we
think of big criminals and people who break into
stores and take things and we think of big wars
and you know, whatever else. But really, our enemy is anybody
who gets under our skin. An enemy is, at least
the ones that will have an impact on our lives, the ones who are
typically close enough that they can put our arms around us and we can put our arms around them, they can be our enemies. The ones who tempt us to not do what Jesus commands us to. In the gospel of Luke. So in the gospel of Luke, Jesus is addressing what we
should do with our enemies. And he says when we come face
to face with our enemies, he says, “You should
make sure to bless them”. “Bless those who curse you,” he says. You know, in other words, he’s telling us to legitimately
desire the happiness of those who are hurting you. It’s a hard thing. He also tells us to pray
for those who mistreat you and he’s not telling us to pray that they get struck by lightning or pray that they get
exiled to a place in Siberia where polar bears will attack them. He’s literally telling us
to pray for their benefit. Pray that good things
will happen to them. He also tells us when we come
face to face with our enemies, he says, well if someone
slaps you on the one cheek, he tells you to turn
the other cheek also. And you know, this is where the phrase turn the other cheek comes from, which many people believe means that if somebody does
something bad to you, you should just turn
around and walk away in the other direction. But
that’s not what he means. When Jesus says, when Jesus is saying that if somebody slaps
you on one cheek, you should turn your
other cheek toward them and invite them to hit you
on the other one as well to stay there and to take it. He also says that if we come
face to face with our enemies, he says, “Don’t withhold
your shirt from them”, you know, if anyone
takes something from you, give them more, give them your
shirt, give them your coat, you know, give them more and more. In other words, my personal comfort should never be the most
important thing to me. And by saying all of these things, he is not saying that your goal in life should be to make yourself vulnerable. He’s not saying that your goal in life should be to get hurt. He’s not even saying that you
need to carry on a friendship with those who are your enemies. He’s just saying, boy don’t forget. Don’t forget how God treats you and me. Don’t forget that Jesus was really good at
blessing those who cursed him. Don’t forget that Jesus
was really good at turning to the people who
were pounding nails into him, not just his cheek, but
his hands and his feet and his side and everything. Don’t forget that we have
a Jesus who prayed for you. Who prayed for your forgiveness. Who prayed for the strength to get all the way to the cross where he would give it. And don’t forget, don’t
forget about the Jesus whose own comfort was not the
most important thing to him. Your comfort is. Your comfort is. And it always will be. And we are tempted to let
our anger get the best of us. Just remember, remember Jesus. Remembe the safety that
we will find in him. Remember his promise that
you’re going to be okay. No matter what it will cost. Today we looked at a list of some sometimes very difficult
tasks that Jesus told us to carry out when we come face to face with people who’ve
caused us some pain. He told us to, “Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you, if someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other
cheek also unto not withhold anything good from them”. To be abundant in giving
and giving and giving. It’s a powerful, it’s a
powerful, it’s a powerful gift when somebody has done that to us. And I bet you that you
have been the recipient of that kind of kindness
at some point in your life. Some point in your life, there is someone who has
treated you in the way that Jesus wants – in this way. And if there is someone
that you can think of, somebody that you are grateful for, someone in whom you
see the heart of Jesus, maybe just consider
tagging them in this video as a way to say thanks. Thanks for showing Jesus to me. And tag them as a way to show, to show that you appreciate
and you’re grateful to God for what you’ve done for them I’ll see you tomorrow.

3 thoughts on “Are You Slow to Become Angry? // Jeremy Mattek // Time of Grace // Grace Talks

  1. Amen. Thank you Lord for your word this morning through your servant. God bless us all in this trouble times we pray and believe

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