If you have a child you have experienced temper tantrums. In fact, you may have even been embarrassed by your child’s tantrums: that is, unless you have children like mine that never throw tantrums. If you believe that last line then I would just remind you that everything that you read on the internet isn’t necessarily true – Bonjour!
For just a moment I want us to think about how a child’s tantrum can be replicated in our online and person-to-person behavior. We usually know what a child is after when they fling themselves to the floor, kick their heels, and declare that they are not moving – princess pajama’s notwithstanding. The child wants her way. If you will, and I have to do so also on a regular basis, question yourself as to why you are ranting. Also I want us to be enouraged in our responses, whether we actually voice them or not, to individuals that may annoy us with their ranting.
They may want a toy, candy, or some other tangible object. However, it is just as likely that they simply want their “side” of the story to be heard. Yesterday our three year old told her nine year old brother; “You are making me very angry.” She then proceeded to cover her face and pout. Now, the front four occupants of the vehicle thought it was fairly amusing, since she was only replicating her brother’s own behavior. Once I asked her why she was angry with her brother all was forgotten and things were good – for a few moments.
At that moment my three year old simply wanted someone in our family to say to her, by words or actions; “You are important to me.” She wanted assurance that her anger, caused by her brother’s perceived slight, was noticed and acknowledged. The same is true when she wants candy, toys, or whatever else may be bright and shiny. Certainly there may be a need for discipline, but since we are looking primarily at adult behavior I won’t delve into child correction.
Social media has given rise to the ability for someone’s feelings to be broadcast around the world.
Don’t kid yourself. People had as many opinions, aggravations, and dislikes in the centuries that proceeded our current one – they just weren’t as able to publicly broadcast those feelings.
Angry at WalMart for only opening three registers at 11PM on Friday night – let everyone on Facebook know about your situation.
Upset that the girl at McDonalds doesn’t know how to count change – let the world know that our culture is riddled with incompetents.
Be kind to the ranter
This one is expressly for me. I don’t say much via social media, but that is more about my personality than it is about me having an opinion. (Hello?) Most of us certainly think the things above while only a smaller number make their thoughts available to the world.
Therefore, get off your high horse, or miniature horse if you were lying on the couch when you read the post, and show love towards your friend or relative. C.S. Lewis, in his book, The Problem Of Pain, brings out the reality that it is our fallen nature that causes us to experience pain, and thus bring pain.
I would remind you here that the Apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 6:10-20 that we are to be strengthened in our fellowship and relationship with the Lord, because our wrestling – our struggle, if you will – is not against a physical enemy. Unfortunately many of us – myself included – tend to respond to pain by inflicting more pain. This cycle destroys our ability to properly live in fellowship with God and splinters our relationships with others.
Stop the ranting
Now, this might sound a little feel-goody to you, but bear with me for a moment. If one of my children were to throw a tantrum, I would want them to learn how to communicate what their problem is. You see, if you are lying on the floor kicking your heels and screaming at the top of your lungs, then the chances are pretty good that no one will understand what it is that you so desperately desire. Sure, a three year old needs to learn to not holler and scream every time she doesn’t get her way, but discipline simply for discipline’s sake probably won’t change that.
This becomes even more difficult as we become adults. If WalMart has a problem, McDonalds has a problem, and every red light in town, – in Patterson we have one – has conspired against you, then you probably need some encouragement from someone. In your complaints you feel like you are making your need very clear, but unfortunately too many people just want to join your complaint deluge instead of seeking to encourage you.
We should be very careful that our ranting isn’t an excuse for us to exert our will and our passions before the God we would say that we serve. For me and for you, I want to take a moment to remind you of the God of Heaven and Earth as given to us in Psalm 91.
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”
3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler[a]
And from the perilous pestilence.
4 He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
6 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
8 Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.
9 Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12 In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.
14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.