Psychologist Henry Brandt was speaking on overcoming anger to a group not usually associated with rage, but an angry minister was in this crowd who desperately needed what the speaker that day had to say. And not more than four minutes into the lecture this needy one was, in his words, “blazing mad.” He assumed that his wife had invited him to come to this conference so Brandt could preach to him.
Brandt’s text met this mad minister right where he lived: “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you…And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you” (Ephesians 4:30-32).
Now, for the first time, this dedicated, hard working, Bible teaching pastor realized he was in deep trouble. His anger had affected his marriage and his entire family was afraid of him. But this would be the day that would change the life of the man millions now know as the co-author of the immensely popular “Left Behind” prophetic book series and the founder and president of “Family Life Seminars,” Dr. Tim LaHaye.
How do I know this?
The book in front of me, “The Greatest Lesson I’ve Ever Learned” tells the story. And the chapter from which I’m drawing my information was partially written by Tim LaHaye, who says immediately after Dr. Brandt finished speaking he headed for a chapel on the grounds to pray, but finding it occupied he lay face down under a pine tree and poured out his heart to God.
Does this mean one heartfelt prayer always ends anger forever?
In fact, LaHaye says only a few hours later the driver of a red sports car cut him off on a freeway nearly causing him to wreck his car and he felt the old anger rising again. But this new minister quickly confessed his anger to the Lord and peace returned. He says he sometimes now actually laughs when another driver cuts him off, especially if he’s driving a red sports car.
Every triumph will be tested.
But victory awaits those who earnestly seek God’s power to overcome their weaknesses and conquer their difficulties.
God meets us where we are and makes us what we can be.
Rage retreats in the face of instant forgiveness. And power to forgive comes from realizing we have been forgiven. Both our forgiveness and the ability to forgive are the results of receiving and sharing God’s love.
Closing his comments on the greatest discovery of his life, Dr. LaHaye says: Facing anger as sin and then confessing it whenever it raises its ugly head has changed my life.”
What good news!
The rule of rage can be broken, bringing peace to each of us and those we love…even instant forgiveness to reckless drivers of red sports cars.