Saturday Sermon: Are you a slave to your emotions?
Aug. 20, 2010 at 3:20 a.m.
By Rev. Daniel Fultz
Recently, while on my morning walk, I passed a yard sale. There was every imaginable item in the yard including clothes, furniture and accessories.
A good crowd was gathering, even though it was still early. Then I noticed a man standing in the driveway of the house next door. The driveway was rather wide and led up to a two-car garage. The man seemed angry and was talking loudly. It took me a few minutes to figure out what he was so upset about.
It seems that a car had parked blocking maybe two or three feet of his driveway. He was not blocked in. Still, his point seemed to be that he might have been blocked in and that he was very upset that someone would dare to park in front of his driveway. A few minutes later, I saw him drive away after yelling unkindly at the young woman driving the car. He appeared to me to be one knot of angry muscle unable to relax.
Whether the young woman should have parked where she did is neither here nor there. My heart was heavy for the man who was so angry. A great portion of his morning was consumed in rage. He was in fact, a slave to his emotions. This of course is a tame example of how we sometimes seize any opportunity to allow anger, resentment, fear and the like, to take over our lives. Or maybe we have been told so many times that we are powerless that we actually begin to think that we are. For whatever reason, anxiety and anger seem to be an ever larger part of our lives.
Paul, in his letter to the Christians in Galatia wrote, "Now the works of the flesh are obvious: . enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels . and things like these. .those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. There is no law against such things." (Galatians 5:19-23)
Now, a lot could be said about what Paul means by "the kingdom of God," but maybe it is enough to say that he is not just talking about going to heaven when we die. He is also telling us how to find peace and a meaningful life today. We live in the kingdom of God when we honor the Creator, care for creation, and live at peace with our neighbors. Letting go of resentment and anger is a large part of doing that.
So if we desire the good life, then let us look for ways to love, to spread joy, to live in peace, to be patient and kind and generous, faithful and gentle. Most of all, each day let us work to be masters of ourselves. This is the greatest victory.
The Rev. Daniel Fultz is the Pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church in Victoria.