Anger

Anger, Personality, Gifts, Limitations, Gossip & an Apology

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I’ve been encouraged by the Church Board, the Leadership Team, to take some time to clear the air and confront an issue that has been percolating in the background of the church for some time now. It’s a difficult issue to pin down though, which makes it difficult to address. The Board, for the last month or so, has taken the time to come to many of you to try to root out what seems to be troubling the church. They’ve heard a lot of things, but after listening to them it seems to come down to this: “Pastor Al is angry with the congregation and has offended people in that anger.”

I’ve asked on multiple occasions – in the pulpit, to the board, and to individuals in the church – if anyone has any “personal offence” with me that I need to pursue reconciliation for, but I’ve been told that no one has accused me of anything personal. The issue is a corporate one and so I want to address it corporately. So, I want to spend a little time today presenting a couple biblical points and then address the issue.

Anger in the Bible

First, I think it’s important that we briefly talk about the Biblical view of anger. The first thing to know is that anger is not a sin. God gets angry. “Wrath” and “Anger” are part of God’s personality. God was angry when the Israelites fashioned and worshiped a golden calf right at the foot of Mount Sinai. Deuteronomy 9:8 says that Israel

“provoked the Lord to wrath, and the Lord was so angry with [them] that He would have destroyed [them].”

And let me read Mark 3:1-6. It says,

“Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand. And they watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man with the withered hand, ‘Come here.’ And he said to them, ‘Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?’ But they were silent. And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.”

Why was Jesus angry? Because when he asked this painfully obvious question to the leaders and teachers of Israel, their hearts were so hard that they refused to answer. Of course the answer is “to do good”, right? But their hearts were so hard, their stubbornness so complete, that they wouldn’t even acknowledge that the man had a need and be able to rejoice in His healing. After asking the question, His eyes swept the room and he saw hypocrite after hypocrite, men who had already decided to “destroy Him” even though He had only done “good”.

But that anger was tempered by grief. We see divine wrath mixed with divine love. Anger is not a sin, but what we do with our anger can be sinful. Paul says in Ephesians 4:26-27,

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

In other words, anger is not a sin. There are things that we should be angry about – but anger out of God’s control can lead to sin. Unrighteous anger, misplaced anger, anger that sits and festers for a long time, or even doing wrong things because of something you should be angry at, can give an opportunity for the devil to cause a lot of grief. That’s why Paul says, “be angry and do not sin” and then follows it up quickly with “deal with that anger quickly” because anger that sits and festers can be like a caustic acid to the soul, eating away, and giving the devil a foothold.

This is why Jesus takes anger very seriously. Turn to Matthew 5:21-26. In this section of the Sermon on the Mount Jesus says this,

“‘You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.’”

Jesus uses a common form of poetic exaggeration by stacking three similar phrases on top of one another to shows how serious this issue is. But what’s going on here? Some people think Jesus is saying that being angry is the same as murdering someone. That anger condemns people to hell. But clearly, if God gets angry and Jesus gets angry, that’s not what it means.

So, what Jesus is saying here, and what we see a lot of other places in scripture is that strong emotions, like anger, will show what’s really going on inside someone. (Pro 29:22, Gal 5:20; Eph 4:31). As he says in Matthew 12:24, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

What Jesus talking about here is someone whose anger is out of control. Their anger leads them to hatred and insults and the desire to harm the other person in some way. In other words, they may not physically stab the person, but their hearts are full of terrible thoughts about them and bad things they wish they could do to them. They may never say it out loud, but they harm and murder people in their heart and God see that as the same thing.

But Jesus goes even farther to show that anger doesn’t just stay in the heart. It leads to insults and division and accusations and court and all kinds of terrible things.

And so Jesus teaches us how to deal with this kind of anger. If you know someone has something against you, if you know they are angry with you – or if you are angry with them and have something festering in your heart – Jesus commands us,

“So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”

I want you to consider for a moment how serious that is. Jesus is looking at a sea of Jewish people who have been commanded by God’s Law to bring gifts and sacrifices to God’s temple, to the altar, as an act of worship, of obedience, and so they can be reconciled to Him. Jesus says, “God doesn’t want your worship, your sacrifices, your religious actions, your songs, your tithes and offerings, or anything else from you – until your heart is right with your brothers and sisters of the faith.” This echos throughout scripture, in Old Testament and New. God is more interested in what is going on in our hearts than in our religious activities. There are a tonne of places in the Old Testament where God rejects people’s offerings because there are human relationship problems (Isaiah 1; Proverbs 15:8; Jeremiah 6:20; Malachi 1:10; Isaiah 66:3; 1 Samuel 15:22).

Consider Micah 6:6-8, for example,

“With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?’ He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

God’s priority is not merely our relationship with Him. God doesn’t want a bunch of religious activity. God cares deeply about our relationships with those around us. And if there’s something wrong with our horizontal relationships, then our vertical relationship is affected too. And so Jesus says, “Go quickly, get right with whoever you must, and then come to worship.”

Seeking Reconciliation

This has been part of the issue with me of late. I’ve heard a lot of rumblings about people being upset with me, but it’s all very unspecific. I don’t know who is offended, so I can’t go to them. And I don’t know the actual offence, so I don’t know what to do to make it right.

I know in my heart that I am not angry with any of you. I promise you I’m not. I’ve been frustrated at times, even hurt, but I’m not angry. And certainly, not anything like Jesus is describing here. I deeply want you to understand that I love this church, only want the best for you, and want to be in a good relationship with you.

You can ask the members of the board how many times I’ve asked who has a problem, what the specific issues or accusations are, and have promised to make myself available anytime for anyone so that I can be reconciled with them. I take Jesus’ words very seriously and try to keep very short accounts with people. I know I’m not perfect and want to know what I need to do in order to be a better Christian and pastor. It is terrifying to me that God would refuse my worship and withhold His blessing from me or this church because I haven’t pursued reconciliation with someone. It’s a very serious thing, and I take it seriously.

When I was a younger pastor I didn’t do well at this. If I heard someone had a problem, I would often just wait to see what would happen. I’d let them come to me. I’d hope the problem would just go away or resolve itself. But it usually didn’t. So I’ve learned that if I hear anything about anyone having any kind of issue to just obey Jesus, make the call, set up a meeting, and go and talk to them. And if they’re not comfortable with just me, I ask if they want someone else to be there. It’s not easy, and it’s not fun, but it’s what Jesus wants, and it’s what’s best for the church and my soul.

But this current issue, this question about me being angry at the congregation, has not revealed any individuals I can deal with. I’ve begged the Board for names so I can come and talk about what has happened, to ask forgiveness if necessary, to fix it if I can, and to seek reconciliation so we can move on. But there have been no names. And so, I’ve been told to take some time today to talk about it. The idea was for me to tack a message on to the end of a sermon, but I didn’t feel right about that, so that’s what you’re getting today.

Gifts, Limitations, and Personality

But before I do get personal, there is one more place I want you to turn. Please open up with me to Romans 12:1-8 and let’s read together.

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.”

This section is about our spiritual giftedness and our human limitations. The right response to all the grace that God has given to us, especially the sacrifice of His Son, is to return to give him our whole lives as an act of worship. Not a one-time, big sacrifice, but just as God gives us grace every day in every way, we return worship to Him every day in every way.

But we live in a sinful world and that’s going to be difficult. The world is going to try to reclaim us, to manipulate us, to conform us back to itself, to draw us back into sin with a myriad of temptations. How do we combat those temptations? By “testing” to “discern” the will of God to see what is “good and acceptable and perfect” to Him – and consequently, best for us.

The word “testing” there is an important one, because it is an active word. It means to actively seek out the will of God in prayer and study, actively pursue the will of God in training and counsel, actively obey the will of God in service and obedience.

Which is why the first word in verse 3 is “for”. It’s a transition word meant to show us what a Christian community will look like when it is actively seeking, testing, discerning the will of God, so they can make their whole lives an act of spiritual worship. What does that look like?

There are three things that a Christian needs to do in order to actively participate in seeking God’s will and worship. First, in verse 3, we see we need to have humility. Second, in verse 4-5, we need to recognize our function. And third, in verse 6, we need to do what God designed us to do.

Notice verse 3. It says,

“I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”

In other words, no one person has everything a church needs. No pastor, no teacher, no missionary, no singer, no evangelist, no matter how talented, is an island to themselves. No one has all the spiritual gifts. No one is all talented. No one has enough resources. No one is wise enough. No one is perfect. Part of having “sober judgement” about yourself and others is knowing that everyone has limitations. Even in the arena of “faith”. Some people have strong faith, others have weak faith (Rom 14:1-15:3). The first point here is to remember that you and I, as individuals, have God-given flaws and weaknesses – and so does everyone else. Therefore we need to help one another and cut each other some slack.

Which leads to verses 4-5,

“For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”

We are told here that the body of Christ, meaning individual churches and the global church, is made up of individuals who “do not have the same function” but are all important. God saves us unto Himself, and then gives us a new Christian family called the church, and then gifts us to serve our new family, and says that by serving them we are serving Him. That’s what Jesus says over and over, right (Matt. 10:40; 25:31-46)? You, if you are saved, regardless of your level of maturity, have a special place in service to the church.

And then third, in verse 6, we are told,

“Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them…”

We are not saved by our good works, but we are saved unto good works that God expects us to do (Eph 2:10). And most of those good works are meant to be done for the church. That’s why there are so many “one anothers” in scripture.

So what do we see here? That God saves us, God gives us gifts, God gives us limitations, God designs what our function in the body of Christ will be, and then God tells us to use them. And that use is limited to our function.

It says that if God has given you the gift of prophecy, meaning that you are one who preaches the word of God, then do that at whatever level the Holy Spirit is working in you – but nothing more than that in an attempt to impress people or look clever. Just tell them what God has said in whatever “proportion” God gives you.

But not everyone is a preacher. Some have the gift of service and they are meant to find a ministry and serve in it. Servants don’t lead the ministry, and they’re not supposed to volunteer for all the ministries, but are meant to humbly serve in whatever capacity you can.

If God has gifted you to be a teacher (and teaching and preaching are different in scripture), then you ought to be teaching people about God and His Word. If you are “one who exhorts”, meaning you are specially gifted to encourage and spur believers on to living godly lives, then you’d better be doing that because you can do it like no one else – and your exhortations will be spiritually empowered to have an effect like no one else. If God has gifted you with the ability to make money and gather material wealth, then you ought to be using it to help people in need and further God’s kingdom through generous giving. If you’re a gifted leader, do so with zeal. If you’re especially gifted to be merciful, meaning you have the heart of the Good Samaritan, a Christian social worker, caring for the sick, dying, or imprisoned – then go do so with cheerfulness, because you are being sent as a light to a dark place.

What I want you to notice here is that not only are we all called to different forms of service but that that we are not all meant to serve the same way. God wants us to do what we’re called to do, not what He called someone else to do.

Consider the contrast between the person gifted with mercy and the one gifted with generosity. The merciful person is usually a volunteer or working way too many hours, for a lower wage than they deserve, in a very difficult job that no one else wants. But they are glad to be there to bring mercy to those who need it. Meanwhile, the generous person is usually busy at work, making money, diversifying their portfolio, maybe even missing some services and unable to volunteer much because they are so financially successful.

Part of what is being said here is that we shouldn’t be guilt-tripping the merciful person into giving up their little bit of wage for the sake of their mission – nor should the merciful person feel bad for not being able to contribute more. That’s the generous person’s job. And conversely, we should be guilt-tripping the generous person into giving up making money so they can volunteer more. Nor should they feel guilty about being able to make money. We should be thankful that God gave them to the church so the money they make can financially sustain the work of the merciful person. It’s teamwork. That’s how the body of Christ works.

Conclusion

Which brings me to my conclusion, and the thing I’ve been building to for this whole message. I needed you to hear what the scriptures say before you heard what I say because I hope that in hearing both you will hear my heart.

I want you to know that when I hear reports that people believe that I am angry with you that it makes me sad. Not because of the accusation, but because it means that I have polluted the church and the preaching of God’s word with my own sin.

A few weeks ago I stepped to the side of the pulpit and gave a five-minute chastisement about not coming to Bible study. I’ve gone back and listened to it again and though I believe all the words were right, and I believe my motives were good, it seems that my personality, my countenance, and whatever baggage is in my heart clouded the message, caused some of you offence, and made you to think I’m angry with you.

I said last week that “A servant is just a delivery system for someone else’s greatness. Their whole job is simply not to forget it, drop it, or change it.” and I cannot escape the fact that in my delivery I dropped and changed the message. I didn’t mean to. I didn’t want to. But my sinful nature came through, my personal junk garbled up the message, and I offended some of you with how I spoke. Not necessarily what I said, but how I spoke.

Ephesians 4:15 says to “speak the truth in love”. Colossians 3:12–14 says,

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”

I missed the mark on these. I was not loving enough, compassionate enough, kind enough, or patient enough – and I want to ask you for forgiveness. Please forgive me for not being more careful with my words. If I had a do-over would I say it again? Maybe. But I would take more time to pray about it, study about it, write it down, and not speak off the cuff. You all deserve better than that and I’m very sorry that my personality and sin clouded and marred what God wanted to say.

I also want to ask you for your patience and to recognize my limitations, as I will try to be patient with you and recognize yours. I told you last week that I know who I am. I’m the prophet and teacher that Romans 12 is talking about, and that means I have certain gifts, but it also means I have a lot of weaknesses. I don’t say this to make an excuse for bad behaviour, I simply ask you to realize that I have personality quirks and flaws just like anyone. I’ve been working on them for a long time, but they still come up.

I’m not ashamed of my personality. God gave it to me from my genetics, parents, and experiences. To be ashamed of who God made me is a sin. However, I am ashamed when my personality flaws, the other edge of the double-edged sword that is personality, corrupt my ministry or hurt the people I care about. I’m sure you know what I mean. Our personality strengths are also our greatest weaknesses.

One quote I read this week, from an 18th-century missionary said,

“Every man is unique, both in mind and experience. Every man, therefore, has his own way: and is natural and graceful only in that way. But it is a great error to think there is no danger peculiar to him. Every man has his peculiar danger, as well as his peculiar forte. A wise man will remember this, and guard.” (Josiah Pratt)

And so my request to you is fourfold – and these are things I will try to do for you as well – and hope that you will do for everyone. I’m sure these are things that all of us have had to ask for at one time or another:

First, please, as I’ve said, forgive me.

Second, please, bear with me. Ephesians 4:2–3 says we should be

“…bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

I’m still a work in progress and always will be. I hope that you will “bear with” my weaknesses, seeking to understand me as an individual, as I try to “bear with” your weaknesses trying to understand the unique person God created you to be.

And third, please don’t listen to or spread gossip about me, as I also promise not to listen to or spread gossip about you.

There have apparently been some very slippery, slimy, malicious things shared about me through private conversations and e-mail about me – but none of them are being brought to me. It’s all behind the scenes stuff that does not honour or obey God’s word.

When you hear these things, consider these scriptures:

  • James 1:26, “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.”
  • Proverbs 18:17, “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.”
  • Proverbs 16:28, “A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.”
  • Proverbs 26:20-22, “Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down. As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome person for kindling strife. The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts.”

If you hear someone talking about me, or anyone else for that matter, don’t treat it like a “choice morsel”, but instead say, “Have you talked to them about this?” Realize that Satan is working hard to divide our church and he’s a very sneaky, slippery foe. If you have any specific issues or accusations against me, you need to bring them to me directly or to Jason Proud. How can I grow more Christlike and work on my problems – or pursue reconciliation – if people don’t come to me? I promise I will do whatever I can to either explain or ask forgiveness and make things right.

 

Anger and Arguing (Carnivore Theology: Ep. 16)

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Anger and Arguing

The 16th episode of “Carnivore Theology”.

Are Christians Allowed to Get Angry?

Biblically, how angry is a Christian allowed to get? Can a Christian argue with another believer or non-believer? Did Jesus ever yell and argue? And what does this all have to do with Star Wars?!?

Podcast Audio:

Click here to download the episode in MP3.

And here’s the link to the behind-the-scenes YouTube video.

As Always, We Want Your Feedback

Please give it a listen and then give let us know what you think in comments section below, by e-mailing me, commenting on our Facebook page, or on Twitter! It would be great if you’d rate us on iTunes too! We’d also really appreciate if you’d pass them around to your friends. Sharing is caring!

The Story of Robin

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I spoke on Meditation this week, beginning with a story of a man named Robin.  Do you see yourself in his story?

 

Robin wakes up once again to the beeping of the alarm clock, and hits snooze one more to see if he can squeeze out nine more minutes of sleep from his morning.  He didn’t go to bed until well after midnight last night, and hasn’t gotten more than 6 hours of sleep any night in the past week…

As the alarm goes off again he looks at the time.  Great, now he’s going to be late.  He jumps in the shower, thankful that he has the special 2-in-1 shampoo, so he doesn’t have to take all that important time up having to use two bottles.  He runs into his bedroom and tries to find something to wear in the disaster he calls a closet.  He finally just grabs the clothes he wore yesterday, gives them a quick sniff, throws them on and bolts out the door, skids into the kitchen, grabs a banana and a granola bar, and prays that God will miraculously open up the traffic the way He did the water for Moses at the Red Sea.

He gets in the car, and hears that familiar “ding!” that reminds him that something is wrong with the car… but he doesn’t have time to worry about that right now.  As he’s pulling out of the driveway, there’s another “ding!”, and he sees that he’s out of gas.  He doesn’t have time for that either, so he prays that God will miraculously keep his tank full enough so he can get to work.

On the way to work Robin dodges in and out of traffic, weaving from lane to lane, cursing the transport trucks and anyone who gets in his way.  His mind flies through every map he’s ever seen of Ottawa, wondering if there is a route to take that would shave valuable minutes off of his commute.  He mentally reminds himself to check the map later… he’d write himself a note, but he’d probably crash if he looked down to find a pen.

He pulls into work, and gets through the door with seconds to spare.  He throws his banana into his locker and walks straight into doing his job.

When lunch time comes, Robin goes through is daily routine of grabbing a coffee, checking his e-mail, updating his Facebook status, looking at sports scores, and looks over the paper in the break room.  Then in walks Phil… or is it Paul… whatever, it doesn’t matter.  He starts with “Hey Robin, how’s it goin’?”  “Oh, great”, Robin thinks, “he wants to chat.”  Robin pretends to be busy doing something, and asks “What do you need… uh, man… I’m right in the middle of something.”   “Oh, sorry!” is the reply, “I’ll leave you alone.”  And he walks back out the door.

After dodging that bullet, Robin decides he really does need to get back to work.  The end of the day comes and Robin wonders if he’s done enough… if not he’ll just put in some overtime later to catch up.

On the way to the car a catastrophic thought strikes Robin’s already very tired mind.  “Oh no… it’s Jane’s birthday tonight!”  Now he’s torn.  He’s tired and doesn’t want to go.  He probably should, seeing as it’s his sister, but he didn’t have time to get a gift, and he’s already looking at a list of things to do at home.  All he’s had to eat today is a banana, 5 coffees, and some Timbits someone brought into work, so he’s hungry… and no one likes someone comes to a party hungry and eats all the food.  His clothes don’t smell right, and if he went home to shower and change, he’d probably be late.  Jane probably won’t mind if he misses the party… although he did miss last year’s too.  But he sent her a really nice e-card a couple days later.

And Robin is getting upset again… “Jane is always asking for things like this.  It’s always about her.  Doesn’t she know I have things to do?”  And Robin decides there and then not to go.  So he quickly texts Jane with an apology and says they’ll catch up later.

When he gets in the car Robin hears “Ding!”  and then “Ding!”.  And his head hits the steering wheel, when he realizes that he’s going to have to stop for gas.  The first “ding!” will have to wait another day.

As Robin pulls into the gas station his phone vibrates with another e-mail.  He pulls off the gas cap, shoves the pump into the car, and gets to work replying to the message.  But the longer he stands there, the more impatient he gets.  “Don’t they have the technology to make gas pumps any faster?  They can put a man on the moon, but they need to me to stand here for this long to put gas in my tank?”  “Click!” goes the pump, Robin hangs it up, and rushes into the store, still trying to finish the e-mail on his phone.

But there are two lines in the store.  Robin quickly sizes up the lines.  Who has their wallet out?  That guy’s got chips and a pop which will take longer.  So he picks his line… but keeps looking up from his phone to see if the other line is moving faster so he could jump into it if need be.

After waiting an agonizing 5 minutes he finally pays for his gas, runs to the car, fires it up, hears the familiar “Ding!” and speeds away… leaving the gas cap on top of the car, and the little gas-door open.

As he’s shoulder checking to see how narrowly he can cut someone off, he notices the open gas door and lets out a couple of swear words.  Now he’s going to have to go all the way back to the gas station!  Robin is angry again.

On the way back his phone rings.  “Hi Robin, it’s Paul.”  “Yeah, what?”, Robin barks.  “Robin, I think we need to have a chat.  Can I come over tonight?”

“Oh, I don’t know Paul… I’ve got a lot do to.”  Robin replies.

“Ok, well, give me a call sometime when you’re free.” Paul replies.

Robin goes home, and now it’s getting late.  He heats up some leftovers for dinner, leaves the dishes sitting on the counter, checks his e-mail again, updates his Facebook, sits down in his chair and flicks on the TV.  A passing thought rolls through his mind… “Maybe I should go to the party.”  But he puts it away.  Another thought… “Well, maybe I could call Paul.”  But he puts that one away too.  “I still have to do some grocery shopping.”  But he’s too tired.  “Maybe I could read some bible before bed.”  But he puts that thoughts aside too with the conclusion that he’s too tired to concentrate on it anyway.  Now he feels tired and guilty.

After too much time in front of the TV watching nothing-in-particular, it’s late again.  Too late.  He’s going to pay for this tomorrow.  Robin groans and slumps off to bed.  Before his eyes close, Robin prays to God in his mind, “God, I sure wish I knew you better.  I wish I had some more friends.  I’m sorry for getting upset so much today… and yesterday.  God, please take care of my mom…” and before he has time to finish that sentence he’s asleep.

 

Do you see yourself in that story?  What would you say to Robin?  Would you call him a deep person?  A friendly person?  A focused person?  What will his life look like in 5 years?