The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

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Question

You might remember me from a few months ago, I asked a question about controlling my temper. Well, it finally happened again. Similar to the last time (no surprise there), it started with an insult and ended with me punching him. But now he looks at me like I'm just a bully. I'm a lot bigger than him. He's 6ft and really thin. I'm about 6'6", which gets me constantly picked on, and very stocky. He sits next to me in class, and if I move my arm to pick up a book or something, he flinches like I'm going to hit him. It really bothers me. I hate the thought of one of my friends being scared of me. It makes me feel like I'm a bad person. Outside of apologizing, what can I do?

Why did God put me in a large frame if He knew I was going to hurt people? I've been wondering why God made me the way I am before this all happened, but this got me thinking about it more. I feel like God sort of wasted it on me. He should have made me normal size and made some calm protective person my size.


Answer

"No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it" (I Corinthians 10:13).

The reason you are the size you are is because God knows you can control your temper. It might take a bit of hard work, but it can be done. You are not unique in having trouble controlling your temper, nor unique in being large. What I note is that you were able to keep your cool for several months. That means you have some control.

I assume you apologized to him and I assume that you were punished for losing your temper. What I want you to do extra is do something particularly kind for the boy you hit. It doesn't have to be anything big, but it needs to show that you respect him for who he is. I think you can figure out something since you say he is a friend of yours.

Next, let's talk about why you lost your temper. Both times it was due to being insulted, so consider why mere words bother you so much. It sounds as if behind your temper there is an over abundance of pride that you allow to be easily wounded. "He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife, but he who trusts in the LORD will be prospered" (Proverbs 28:25). The idea is insults don't matter because God will deliver justice. Since God will do a better and fairer job of it, you don't have to avenge yourself. "Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. Therefore "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:17-21).

Thank you for your time, sir.

I have trouble talking about things like this with people I know. I love my pastor and he's helped me a lot, but sometimes its hard for me to open up to him when I'm having temper problems.

Now that I think about it, pride is the problem. Of course, pride went before my fall. God hit me ten times harder than I possibly could have hit him, only God hit me in the form of guilt for my actions.

I have been doing better, but getting poked fun of builds up until I react; and as you noticed, it normally takes 2 or 3 months between reactions. They rarely turn in to a full out fight, thankfully, but it has before and that's what I try very hard to avoid.

You always know what to say, and I believe it's a great thing what your doing. So many people try to leave God out, when God being left out is the problem, and I think part of my problem. I get off the path God wants me to be on. That's normally when I lose it. I feel like God is really helping me at times to control my temper, and that's what reassures me that I'm back where I need to be.

That you see it building up is an important point. That means problems aren't being resolved. You are only pushing them aside until there is no more room to push and everything explodes. Being angry when it isn't about yourself is all right so long as you don't lose control. ""Be angry, and do not sin": do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil" (Ephesians 4:26-27).

A part of the "trick," if you will, is not to let things pile up to an overwhelming flood. Handle one problem at a time. Get it resolved and then move on to the next one. Think for a moment what is the biggest problem you have a the moment and then work out ways you can resolve it.