Jump Start #3300
Jump Start # 3300
Ecclesiastes 11:10 “So remove grief and anger from your heart and put away pain from your body, because childhood and the prime of life are fleeting.”
There are “Three R’s” between the end of Ecclesiastes 11 and the starting of chapter 12 that apply to young people. Solomon says “Rejoice, young man…” (11:9). Our verse, “Remove grief and anger from your heart.” Chapter twelve begins, “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth.” REJOICE. REMOVE. REMEMBER. Three R’s—three R’s that can make a difference.
Our verse today, the middle of these R’s, tells us to remove grief and anger from the heart. We don’t normally associate sorry and grief with young people. Often their lives have been protected and sheltered. They have not seen the ugly things in life that many of us adults know so well. But, here Solomon reminds us that there is grief and anger among young people. Life can be hard no matter what age you are.
Now, some thoughts:
First, grief and anger can get the best of us. That’s one reason why they need to be removed. We become consumed with those things and we cannot think straight because of that. When one is mad, they don’t think right, nor act right. They lash out, often at the people that love them the most. Things are said that shouldn’t be said. And in our age, social media spreads that anger nationwide.
The idea of removing grief and anger means that those things are within our grasp. This is a choice that we make. I don’t have to be angry. I can remove anger. I can remove grief. I don’t have to keep focusing upon the wounds, the sorrows and the pains. The way some put it you’d think that there is no other option. They are angry and they can’t do anything about that. Solomon tells us otherwise. Things get you upset. Things are not right. Things bother you. Things hurt you. Still, it’s your choice whether you’ll be angry or not.
The Ephesians were told to deal with their anger quickly. Do not let the sun go down on your anger is what their text tells us. Our anger gives the devil a key and an invite to our hearts. I’ve seen the best people act in the worst ways when they were angry. Days gone by, there has been tales of brethren getting in fist fights in the parking lot, shouting at one another during worship, walking out, slamming doors, and threatening one another. That ole’ “Bless be the tie that binds our hearts,” quickly goes out the window when one is angry.
Remove anger, is what Solomon tells us.
Second, worse than an angry young person is an angry old grump. And, some have been angry and miserable all of their life. They have never known many moments of joy, peace and happiness. There may be many differences between the anger of a young person and the anger of an older person, but that anger will have the same impact upon them both. It will cripple them. People will not want to be around them. They tend to suck the joy out of the air and complain about anything that is good. Anger, like mold, seems to linger and stick around. It doesn’t just go away. Remove it, were Solomon’s words. That takes some effort and determination not to allow that spirit to take over my life and be the direction of my life.
Third, one misses so much in life when they walk with a chip on their shoulders. Always angry. Always upset. Always miserable. They can’t see the blessings because they are angry. They can’t see God because they are angry. They don’t enjoy fellowship with God’s people, because they are angry. Worship doesn’t help them, because they are angry. They don’t enjoy quiet moments in thought and prayer. They don’t know contentment. God’s blessings are all around them, but they can’t see them. Anger has filled their eyes and heart and anger is all that drives them.
What can we do and what can parents do to help young people remove anger and grief from their hearts? This is not something that will just happen on it’s own. This is something that must be taught and worked on. I’d suggest, when one is upset to have a conversation with someone who is wise and godly. Venting can be helpful. Sometimes we don’t see every perspective because anger has blinded us. Talking someone into calmer waters is important. Listen. You may not be able to fix what bothers them, but you can be one that they talk to. Sound judgment, experience and wisdom will help you to guide that young person away from making foolish choices.
It might be good just to ask someone, “Do you like being mad?” Most would say that they couldn’t help it. Something has made them mad. But our verse reminds them that they don’t have to be angry. That is their choice and it likely was not the best choice. Young people have to learn that they cannot fix the world, change others or even get everyone to like their opinions. We’d say, “That’s life.” But it’s hard to understand that, especially when on is young.
Have you noticed that so many of the mass shootings in this country are committed by people in their teens and mid-twenties? Why are they shooting others? Why are they so angry? Volumes of books will be written by expects with everything from the breakdown of the home, to drugs, to violent videos, to lack of role models. The list is long. But in the end, someone did not remove anger from their life. It stayed. It took over. It destroyed others.
Parents, your children see your anger. They see how you react to things. Be the example that shows them how to remove anger from their hearts.
Rejoice—Remove-Remember. Good words for us.