Much like today, the 1960’s were filled with turmoil, dissension, and disrespect. Unfortunately, we see our country again on the brink of a political and social decline and disorder. During the progressive movement in the late 1940’s Pete Seeger and Lee Hays wrote the song, If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song). It was first recorded by The Weavers, a folk music quartet composed of Seeger, Hays, Ronnie Gilbert, and Fred Hellerman.
In 1962 Peter, Paul and Mary rearranged the song and it became an instant hit. As you might recall, the song talked about the dangers and warnings of that era. How peace, justice, freedom, and love between brothers and sisters all over the land was needed to restore our faith and allegiance.
If ever we needed to focus on the ideas of this song, it is today. I’ve never encountered so many angry, hurting, and frustrated people as I’m seeing in our culture today. The hostile media seems to take great delight in propelling the bad news and social injustices breaking out all over our land. Good news and worthy events are rarely reported.
I’m happy to say I know several people who know the joy of our Lord that is talked about in the book of James. One such fellow is my friend, David Sample. Dave is a very creative, kind, and gentle guy with big heart. He has gone through the storms of life and knows now how-to re-shape his world to bring about joy within himself and others. He states, “Pain is inevitable, suffering is not.”
He frequents coffee shops in the Bay Area where he boldly reaches out to people who may not know pure joy. With them, he creates a dialog like this:
Can I have your attention please? I have a good word to share with you today.
I have searched for Amore my whole life.
Haven’t you? Of course, you have, we all have.
I found it…
Before I tell you where it is, I want to ask you two questions, is that ok?
Has anyone here not experienced anger?
Has anyone here not experienced hurt?
I would like to share an anecdote about these feelings. Is that ok?
I am going to recite a poem, then ask you to repeat it with me.
Will you do that?
He then commences to share his poem:
Anger & Hurt
I looked at the world
Though an angry set of eyes
Searching for the enemy
In all its disguise
Only to find
It’s much nearer than I knew
Lurking in the minds and hearts
Of me and of you
I let go of the anger
And hurt that I feel
And know deep within
My soul it is real
Next, David ask the patrons, “Don’t you feel wonderful? You just declared yourself free of anger and hurt and discovered the source of eternal love in the depth of your soul.”
The book of Proverbs is full of advice about being angry. Proverbs 14 says:
If you stay calm, you are wise, but if you have a hot temper, you only show how stupid (uninformed) you are.”
Anger is like fire, it can be useful, but, in a flash, it can destroy the things you hold most dear. The Apostle Paul reminds us to stay focused upon our Lord and His righteousness:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
A wise man finds peace while others are still upset.
Let’s pray together for a better understanding of anger, and some practical strategies for preventing it and using it well.
Someone once said, “Excuses, delays, and fears are the best ingredients for failure.” What is keeping us from finding peace and love with others?
Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10b) He meant that our lives should be filled with joy, peace, and love.
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If you wish to contact David for more of his work, I’m including his contact info below:
David Sample (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Do Good Books
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Jim Grassi, D. Min.