OnFire Encouragement Letter
OnFire #296 Loaded for Bear
Paddling quietly, we rounded the corner of the creek in our canoe and I spotted what we had come for. It had not been a productive day of duck hunting and so the sight of something on the bank was exciting. My heart raced as I lifted the 12 gauge shotgun and drew a bead on the dark shape.
It was a good shot, dead center. Imagine my surprise when it didn’t fall over. My “duck” was really a mass of dark roots at the base of an old stump. In the poor lighting of the shade at that corner, I blasted the wrong target.
“What were you shooting at?” my hunting partner asked. We paddled back and I showed him what I saw. The mass had the shape of a duck standing to stretch, head up. In my eagerness for the hunt, it was easy to see something that was not there.
One of the very real risks of carrying a loaded gun is that we might fire at the wrong target. So it is with hunter and non-hunter alike. Jealousy, bitterness, infighting, gossip, slander and arrogance are like shells in the magazine of life, ammunition in the chamber of anger. (2 Cor 12:20; Eph 4:31). As if that wasn’t dangerous enough, contributing factors like stress, hurt, and fatigue cloud our judgment.
Paul wrote, “In your anger do not sin.” (Eph 5:26). If there was a redneck translation of this verse, it might read, “When you’re angry, don’t go blasting the wrong things.”
“Loaded for bear” is an expression which means we are angry and looking for a confrontation. We can’t wait to express our displeasure. In this condition we must be very careful since it is so easy to hear or see the wrong thing and blast away.
Anger is going to happen. No one doubts this. Character is about how we handle this emotion. Self-awareness is critical. When we know we are angry, we can take steps to be careful, exercise additional patience, and avoid making snap decisions we might regret later.
My hunting day ended well, with no harm done. May the same be said of us, even when we face stress and frustration, tension and anger.
I hope this helps. Be on fire.
OnFire is a biweekly letter on faith and character written by Troy Dennis. This letter published Feb 20, 2013. Troy is the Pastor of Next Generations and Connections at Highfield Baptist Church, Moncton NB Canada. Scripture taken from New International Version, 1984. To subscribe or reply, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Archives are located at www.onfireletter.com. Blog located at www.onfireletter.blogspot.com