Tag Archives: Emotional Health


Message by Rev. Erny McDonough
Fisherman’s Chapel, Port O’Connor, Texas

I Cor. 13:5 & 6 “[Love] … is not easily angered. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with truth.”

Intro: Have you ever wanted to be a “fly on the wall” to get a glance from inside how a certain family functions? I surely have! I have seen some families that seem to have it so together, but I notice that there are times that an obvert dysfunction shines. I have seen other families that appeared to be totally out of control, but whose kids turned out to be God honoring and God serving.

To get an answer to such a picture, I would want to see the differing approaches to acts of love. I would want to see the parties and the hugs, but because every family member must learn how they fit in the family structure, I know that I would also have to see the disciplines and how it was administered and why. To outsiders, some acts of discipline seem to be just cruel acts of aggression by the strong against the weak, but in the context of the family, they were seen as extreme acts of love.

Today, we are going to look at some examples of what some, looking in on the scene from outside the family unit and from this distance, would say that God was vindictive, cruel, and some have dared to call God “mean spirited.”

I. Garden of Eden

God instructed all of His creations created in His imagine, Adam and Eve, that they were to enjoy everything in the Garden except one fruit. They were not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We know what happened – they ate and were thrown out of the Garden! But, why? What was the big deal?

God had forbid them from eating from this one fruit to keep their innocence – it was an extreme act of love. God did not want them to grow up so quickly; He wanted to protect them from themselves. The devil made them believe that God was withholding something that would open them up to new and exciting possibilities, but this act of rebellion against God truly brought about their death.

God wanted them to stay protected from the knowledge of good and evil – He wanted them to only know the good, but the devil wanted them to know the evil. Loving families will always attempt to protect their children from growing up too fast, but the enemy is always wanting kids to learn things before they know what to do with the information.

God, in His love knew that He had to banish His children from the Garden lest they eat also from the tree of life – which they had undoubtedly eaten from many times before, but God knew that once we understand the evil, we do not want to stay in that knowledge forever. One day, soon I hope, God will again place us in His special Garden where we will know evil no more, because of His act of love!

II. Korah

In Numbers 16, we have the story of Korah, one of Levi’s sons, who incited some of his cousins and other community leaders to rise up against Moses and Aaron. Korah and his associates had seen the advantages of the priesthood in Egypt. Egyptian priests had great wealth and political influence and Korah wanted those things for himself. Korah did not understand that Moses and Aaron were not trying to copy Egyptian examples, but follow their Father God’s directives. Moses and Aaron’s only ambition was to serve God, not to control the people for personal power or gain.

Korah had significance, worthwhile abilities, and a place uniquely his own. No one was trying to keep Korah from being all he could be. But, Korah’s ambition to remove another from his God appointed place, cause him and his followers to lose everything. Korah could not be allowed to win in his rebellion against God’s authority or the results would be open rebellion would become the norm in the Israelite community. God did not become so angry that He struck Korah without mercy, but God displayed His great mercy by giving Korah many opportunities to repent, warned him where his path was leading, and them followed through with His discipline for not only Korah’s good, but for the good of the entire Jewish nation.

God knows that rebellion is like witchcrafts – which is allowing the devil to control one’s life instead of being under the loving care of our Heavenly Father. In His great love for His family, God will strike at the heart of rebellion in ways that outsiders might believe to be cruelty, but is protective within the family community.

III. The Wilderness Purge

We all remember that God wanted to take His people out of Egypt’s bondage and take them to a land that was flowing with milk and honey. Miraculously, God delivered about 3 million slaves from the strongest nation known to mankind at the time, plundering the nations of its wealth and destroying its vast army. And, remember these slaves did all this without firing even one shot! Miraculously, God provided form them all the food (manna) and water (once even from a rock) they needed to make this journey. Miraculously, God provided shade for them from the desert sun and warmth for them from the desert nighttime cold with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire at night. Miraculously, God allows them to grip and complain against Himself and His representatives. God takes them to the Promise Land in about two months and directs them to send representatives over to see where they wanted to begin settling.

But, you remember what happened. Ten of the twelve representatives (one from each tribe) returned with an evil report and the people voted to not follow God’s leadership any more. God had set up a theocracy form of government, but He allowed them to have a democracy, even through God knew it would lead them to their own deaths.

Because they wanted to go their own ways, god allowed them to and allowed only the two (Joshua and Caleb) who stood for God’s choice to enter the Promised Land. God did not remove the consequences of their bad choices! Every person who voted to go his own way instead of God’s way died in the wilderness. God does not want robots to serve Him, but He wants us to know that there will be natural consequences of our bad choices. If we refuse to go His way, we will suffer and die just as the Children of Israel did. God love us enough that He gives us examples of what the bad choices will bring us to.

IV. Moses’ Death

Many just do not understand why God would take His leader, after all that he had to go through in leading these rebellious people for almost 40 years, and not allow him to enter Canaan. Moses had been forgiven of murder, when he killed the Egyptian. Moses had been forgiven his failure to follow God’s directive in circumcising his sons because his wife thought the act to be barbaric. Moses had been forgiven his failure to accept his God given place of leadership and God sent Aaron to speak for him before Pharaoh. There were many opportunities to get rid of Moses had God wanted, but God is always longsuffering, not willing for any to perish.

But, Moses was under the pressure of the people to get them some water. Remember, these were rebellious people dying in the wilderness for their refusal to go God’s way. Moses prayed, asking for God’s direction in providing water for this vast nation. God told him to speak to the rock and water would flow. When the Children of Israel had first come out of Egypt, God had told Moses to strike the rock to bring water for the people. This time, God said to speak to the rock. Moses in his frustration and anger decided to do it his way, the way he had done it before, and hit the rock with his staff. God provided the water, but He was not pleased with His servant Moses. As a result, God told Moses he would die with the rest of the people in t he wilderness and not be allowed to go into the Promised Land.

What was the big deal? Speak or strike – water would come out either way! Remember, God was leading a much younger group of people into Canaan. The folks who had seen him strike the rock were almost all dead. This was a new day and God was about to do a new thing. He needed a leader who would be adaptable and not set in his own ways to enter this new land. Moses could change, but he showed that if angered or frustrated, he would resort to the old paths and fail to obey God’s directive. God needs people who will listen to Him, because we truly do not know all that God is trying to do in blessing His creation! We always fail when we believe we know what is best instead of following God’s Word. God will not allow you or me to do things our own way and still expect His best! Moses could not be trusted to do things God’s way, therefore, even Moses had to be replaced!

Conclusion: I could spend several more weeks looking at this subject, and talk of the Egyptians, Balaam, the fiery snakes, and the nations of Canaan. We cold look at Cain, Akin, and Ely and others who fell under God’s judgment. We would question why Uzzah died when he touched the Ark of the Covenant when he was simply trying to keep it from toppling to the ground. But, the important message for us today is that God will always deal harshly with sin, but will forgive us when we choose Him. Remember, no one can serve two masters. God does not just get mad and get even, but He is attempting to teach us with examples that life lived under His directives will always bring us to His place of love! Let us determine to go God’s way!

Next week we will be looking toward the New Testament to see why God got angry and why. As we understand God’s ways, I believe it will help us in our struggles with anger in our own lives!

~Pastor Erny



Message by Rev. Erny McDonough
Fisherman’s Chapel, Port O’Connor, Texas

I Cor. 13:5 “…love is not easily provoked …not easily angered…”

Intro: We began a journey, you and me, into the subject of Anger Management, even though neither of us truly wanted to talk about it! We looked at modern anger and noticed that most anger is viewed as immature or uncivilized, because most were “temper tantrums.” We also saw how that bottled up anger or sand bagging could be just as damaging causing such things as clinical depression with its symptoms of obsessions, phobias, addictions, and manic tendencies and even bipolar disorder. We noted that most people tend to express their anger through a fight-or-flight response.

Henry Drummonds wrote in “The Greatest Thing In The World,” that “No form of vice, not worldliness, not greed of gold, not drunkenness itself, does more to unchristianize society than evil tempers. For embittering life, for breaking up communities, for destroying the most sacred relationships, for devastating homes, for withering up men and women, for taking the bloom of childhood, for sheer gratuitous misery-producing power, this influence stands alone.”

Anger is a good emotion used both by God Almighty and Jesus Christ! The greatest problem with anger is that it covers up other emotions like fear, frustration, and anxiety. It is only as we learn the difference between the beneficial anger and the destructive anger that we can become what we were created to be.

Today, we are going to examine the fight-or-flight response to anger.

I. Aggressive Anger: (Fight)

The symptoms of aggressive anger include these:

A. Threats, such as frightening people by saying how you could harm them, their property, or their prospects if often a symptom of aggressive anger. Finger pointing, fish shaking, and even wearing clothing or symbols associated with violent behavior constitutes a threat. How many have been victims of tailgating, excessive horn blowing, or door slamming? I have told you about the time our oldest son went to his room upset and slammed his bedroom door. I responded by removing the door and placing it in the garage until he learned this kind of actions would not be tolerated.

B. Hurtfulness, such as physical violence, verbal abuse, biased or vulgar jokes, and even breaking a confidence can be forms the fight response. Playing loud music, using foul language, ignoring people’s feelings, and willfully discriminating shows hurtfulness. Blaming others, punishing people for unwarranted deeds, and labeling others poorly may seem to be harmless activities, but they often mask the fight.

C. Destructiveness, such as destroying property, harming animals, reckless driving, and alcohol and chemical abuse should be viewed as aggressive anger. Some will set out to destroy a relationship between two people just to express their rage.

D. Bullying, such as we see on our news where this mother and daughter used the internet to bully a 13 year old girl to the point that she hang herself must not be tolerated in a civilized society. Persecuting, pushing or shoving, and shouting are often signs of bullying. Using the power to oppress others and playing on people’s weaknesses is similar to using your car to force someone off the roadway.

E. Unjust Blaming, such as accusing other people for your personal mistakes, blaming people for your own feelings, and making general accusations, such as “If it were not for the Democrats, our nation would be better!” are symptoms of aggressive anger.

F. Manic Behavior, such as speaking too fast, walking too fast, and even working too much and expecting others to follow you can spell real problems for you. Often driving too fast and reckless spending can be signs of manic behavior!

G. Grandiosity, like showing off, demanding center state all the time, not listening, trying to talk over people’s heads, even expecting “kiss and make-up sessions” to solve problems are out of the norm. Also always expressing mistrust of others, failure to delegate, and being a poor loser in insignificant matters can signals problems.

E. Self-Centerness displayed by ignoring other’s needs and not responding to requests for help can be acts of aggression.

F. Vengeance, such as being over-punitive, refusing to forgive, and bringing up hurtful memories from the past must be seen as over the line actions.

G. Unpredictability, such as explosive ranges over minor frustrations, attacking indiscriminately, dispensing unjust punishments and inflicting harm on others for the sake of it must not be tolerated. Often unpredictability is acted out by constant illogical arguments.

I know this is a long list, but many times we see these types of behaviors and never recognize them as aggression, even when we see them in our own lives! Examine your own lives in view of this list and see if the fight response is your choice of action!

II. Passive Anger – (Flight)

Passive anger is often expressed in the following ways:

A. Secretive Behaviors, such as stockpiling resentments that are expressed behind people’s backs, giving the silent treatment or under the breath muttering, putting other people down, gossiping, anonymous complaints, poison pen letters, and even conning can spell real problems. Avoiding eye contact and stealing, especially “just for the fun of it” are often flight expressions.

B. Manipulation, as seen in provoking people to aggression and then patronizing them, provoking aggression but staying on the sidelines, sabotaging relationships, and using a third party to convey negative feelings, is not the way to properly motivate people! Manipulation can be seen in emotional blackmail, false tearfulness, faking illnesses, withholding money or resources, and even using sexual provocation.

C. Self-Blame is often a tool for flight. Apologizing too often, being overly critical, and inviting unnecessary criticism fools very few people as to the true motivation.

D. Self-Sacrifice, such as being overly helpful, making do with second best, quietly making long suffering sighs without accepting help, or lapping up gratefulness can be signs of problems.

E. Ineffectualness, such as setting yourself and others up for failure, choosing unreliable people to depend on, being accident prone, underachieving, and expressing frustration at insignificant things but ignoring serious ones is often a sign of flight.

F. Dispassion is characterized by giving the cold shoulder or phony smiles, looking cool, sitting on the fence while others sort things out, not responding to other’s anger, and talking of frustrations but showing no feelings. Also dispassionate people often dampen their feelings with substance abuse, overeating and/or oversleeping, and by giving inordinate amounts of time to machines, like computers or video games.

G. Obsessive behaviors, such as needing to be clean and tidy, making a habit of constantly checking things, over-dieting or overeating should be areas of concern. Perfectionism – demanding that all jobs are done perfectly can be a sign of flight!

Conclusion: I realize that we have not begun to deal with anger management, but until we understand the signs of inappropriate anger, we can not learn how to control it. Remember, God has the answer for all our anger needs – let us seek Him and receive His help in our times of need!

~Pastor Erny


Message by Rev. Erny McDonough
Fisherman’s Chapel, Port O’Connor, Texas

I Corinthians 13:5 “… love is not easily provoked … not easily angered …”

Introduction: A puppy is kicked against the living room wall. A crying infant is caught by his heels and hurled against its nursery’s wall. A teen murders his parents, then goes to school and shoots several of his peers and a teacher. A mother walks out on the most important things in her life – her family. Another mother drops her offspring in the dumpster behind the local convenience store.

Angry people are said to be mad, and maybe that is right! Often anger causes people to act insanely! Anger will consume your happiness, steal your joy, affect your health, damage your relationships, and often leads to murder.

We are going to begin a journey, you and me, into this subject that none of us like to talk about! We are going to examine what anger is and where it comes from. We are going to seek from the Bible what God gets angry about and how He responds. We are going to look at several ways to help us control inappropriate anger responses. These will be messages that many people in Port O’Connor need to hear, but they will not unless you personally encourage them to attend. I do not know how many weeks we will be looking at this subject, but I am sure it will be several. Let’s get started!

Anger is a good emotion used both by God Almighty and Jesus Christ! The greatest problem with anger is that it covers up other emotions like fear, frustrations, and anxiety. It is only as we learn the difference between the beneficial anger and the destructive anger that we can become what we were created to be.

I. Modern Anger

A. In today’s society, most anger is viewed as an immature or uncivilized response to frustration, threat, violation, or loss. Much of the angry expressions we see are indeed just that – immature or uncivilized. When society fails to respond with penalties that are strong enough, such actions will continue. But, when parents and/or governments refuse to condone such “temper tantrums,” more appropriate actions will follow!

B. Conversely, keeping calm, coolheaded, or “turning the other cheek” is considered more socially acceptable. This conditioning can also cause inappropriate expressions of anger such as uncontrolled violent outbursts, misdirected anger, or repressing all feelings of anger when it would be an appropriate response to the situation.

C. “Bottled up anger” can lead to persistent violent thoughts or actions, nightmares, and even physical symptoms, such as ulcers or irritable bowel syndrome. Some call this anger “Sand Bagging.”

D. Anger can also aggravate an already present mental health problem such as clinical depression. It is a fact that some depression is simply the results of anger turned inwards. The reason for this is because many depressed people react to stress by turning their anger inward as a response to physical or emotional abuse or neglect. Depressed person’s who deny their anger will often have unhappy and unhealthy interpersonal relationships.

E. Another side-effect of anger is that it often fuels obsessions, phobias, addictions, and manic tendencies. People who are not able to express their anger will let it out in some sort of furious activity, which can result in clinical depression or even bipolar disorder.

F. Anger can fan the flames of paranoia and prejudice, even in normal, everyday situations. People tend to express their anger either passively or aggressively through what is called the “fight-or-flight” response. The passive flight response is repression and denial of anger for safety. However, aggressive behavior is associated with the fight response and the use of the verbal and physical power of anger to abuse and hurt others.

II. The Harm Of Anger

Henry Drummond writes in his book, “The Greatest Thing in the World,” the following:

No form of vice, not worldliness, not greed of gold, not drunkenness itself, does more to unchristianize society than evil tempers, for embittering life, for breaking up communities, for destroying the most sacred relationships, for devastating homes, for withering up men and women, for taking the bloom of childhood, for sheer gratuitous misery-producing power, this influence stands alone!

Conclusion: The term anger management refers to a system of psychological therapeutic techniques and exercises by which someone with excessive or uncontrollable anger can control or reduce the triggers, degrees, and effects of an anger emotional state. God has the answer for all our anger needs – let’s seek Him!

~ Pastor Erny