Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Father's Day—6/17/2012

We Honor All Fathers

Sav-A-Child takes this opportunity to honor all
fathers especially those who have done or are
still “doing their job.” If your Dad is still living,
show him honor. If he is not living, remember
the good things and release the painful things
you remember about him.

Lack of Fathering Has Negative Results

An inmate in a state prison was a very gifted
artist. He displayed his gift and was well-known
for his artistic talent among other inmates. One
year he decided to do hand-painted Father's Day
cards. He put them on display and priced them
reasonably. None sold so he cut the prices to
almost nothing. Still not one card sold. Then,
just before Father's Day, he tried to give them
away, but no takers!

Why, You ask? Our prisons are filled with men
and women who are in prison largely because of
absent or abusive fathers. If you took a poll of
why no one took a Father's Day card, you'd
discover that the inmates either did not know
who their father was; or if they did know their
father, they hated him.

Society's # 1 Challenge

There are many great Dads, but
the bad ones get most of the
attention. The absence of
fathers, and neglectful or
abusive fathers are the number one problem in
our society. Many of the family issues I deal
with at SAV-A-CHILD point to the lack of
good fathering in the family.
The best mother in the world cannot be both
father and mother. While there are increasing
numbers of mothers deserting their family, it is
usually the father that runs away from the
responsibilities of being a father and husband.
The single mom raising her children without
help deserve our prayers and help. Many are
true “heroes” of the faith.

Why Are Father's So Important?
A child's identity, self-respect
and success in life are related to
the quality of fathering they
have received. Fathers are to be
the authority and strength of the
family while mothers nurture the
emotional and character contents of the child's
life. Often, without a good male figure, the
family is disorganized and unprotected from
damaging outside influences. As cited above,
absent and renegade husbands and fathers
contribute more to delinquency and crime than
any other single factor in our society. The
fatherless children who overcome the absence of
a father and stay out of trouble with the law still
have a “father hole” in their heart. The promise
in God's Word is Psalm 68:5,6a-- “A father of
the fatherless and a judge for the widows, Is
God in His holy habitation. [6] God makes a
home for the lonely;” [NAS]. I really believe
God, the Father, takes special interest and care
for those without a father. The key is that these
fatherless ones must trust God and look to Him
for their safety and provision.

Most of the gangs roaming the streets of our
cities are “quasi-families.” The gang leader
becomes the “father-type,” and the gang
members are like brothers and sisters. In
prostitution, the pimp becomes the girl's
authority figure and takes the place of a father in
her life. In most cases those caught up in the sex
trade--boys and girls--are fatherless!

Fathers are absolutely critical to a family's sense
of order and safety. Mothers are important, but
fathers are far and away the most influential
person in a child's life. If he is not there or is
immature or abusive, the family suffers. In some
cases, the suffering continues for generations to

Release Him from Judgment --Forgive

The starting place for those who had no father
or who had a bad life with his/her father, is to
totally and completely release him from
judgment. You cannot go back and do it all
over again. You can hold on to the hurt and
bitterness, but it hurts only you [and those you
are now living with].

Good and Godly Fathers are to be Praised
On the other hand, if we had a loving and
trusting relationship with our dad, we will
probably transfer this love and trust on to God.
If you had a good or godly earthly father, you
are most blessed!!! Thank the Lord for His
goodness and honor your father or his memory
any and every way you can!!!

Honor Your Father

If you had or still have a good Dad, honor him if
he’s alive, and honor his memory if he’s in
heaven. If your Dad was not a good Dad,
forgive him and honor him as much as you can
for any good points he had. I’ve actually had
some cases in my counseling practice in which
the person cannot think of one good thing to say
about his/her mother or father. In which case, I
have them pray something like this: “Heavenly
Father, I thank you for my mom who furnished
the egg and for my dad who provided the sperm
and together gifted me with my earthly life.” In
spite of the good character or lack of character,
God used your parents to give you life. This
prayer honors both mother and father!

Get Free and Receive God’s Love,
Acceptance and Forgiveness.

Once you fully release your earthly father from
judgment, you are ready to fully and freely
receive God’s love, acceptance and forgiveness.

Let God be your loving Heavenly Father. By
forgiveness and faith, believe that God is a
PERFECT FATHER, and let Him love you and
bless you!!!

God’s word promises that He, God, will be a
“father to the fatherless.”

Sav-A-Child Is Standing In the Gap

We are “missionaries to the family.” At SAV-ACHILD
we are focused on the whole family—
not just children. In fact, before I see a child in
counseling, I will almost always meet with the
parent or parents first. I can often “discern” the
problem by talking to the parents.

Your continued prayers and financial support
keeps us on the “front lines” of the family. God
is using this agency to help hurting families and
their children.

We appreciate your consistent “Partnership!”

His servant to His servants,

Arville L. Renner, Ph.D.

Executive Director

Happy Father’s Day

Love and prayers


Wednesday, December 01, 2010


A Production of

Rev. Arville L. Renner, Ph.D.
Executive Director
P.O.Box 15197 Jacksonville, Fa. 32239-5197
(904) 762 -1937
E-Mail office@sav-a-child.com

What do we do with self?

Our Saviour embraced His own Cross, and we should follow His example. Jesus said: "Take up your cross and follow me." The main issue in this article is "self" or self-centeredness versus embracing the Cross. The self or ego may be dealt with in several ways. It can be crucified by embracing the Cross. The self can be imprisoned by legalistic restrictions imposed by a religious group. The other approach to self is to express yourself or "let it all hang out"! Absolute freedom of self or the self allowed total expression is anarchy. However, an imprisoned self is more dangerous and potentially harmful than one allowed free expression. The thesis of this article is to point the reader to the best option for dealing with self and that is to crucify the self. If we are submitted to training and discipleship under Jesus, we should let self-die.

Death leads to new life

In the historical account of the life of Christ, we know that He died on the Cross first. Subsequent to his crucifixion, he was raised from the dead through resurrection. In like manner, for each death blow to the life of self, you must also embrace the New Life, or the resurrected life of Jesus. Therefore, we die to self so that resurrection life takes over in us. The Cross means death, but it is also the way to New Life, Eternal Life in the resurrected power of Jesus Christ

A Captive or Imprisoned Self

It is not a dead self that presents the biggest problem, but a thwarted, captive, imprisoned self. The captive self is even worse than the self allowed full play. The best self is a crucified self. The followers of Christ enter into freedom of the self only after embracing the cross. Jesus practised, and taught, death to the self. No repressions, just death. Petty self-life exchanged for Divine Life. The choice before all of us is religion or reality. Man's religion may deceive one into believing his self is dead when all the time his self is hiding, waiting for its opportunity to find full expression in sinful action.

This same principle applies to forgiveness of injuries. Much of the personal problems I see in counselling are directly related to unresolved hurts. These hurts often result in unforgiveness, bitterness, grief or some other such negative emotion. One of our Lord's commands is to forgive others their trespasses so that our heavenly father can forgive our trespasses [The Lord's Prayer, Matthew 6:11-15]. Here is the major stumbling block— the self in you can never forgive injuries. The more we think of our injuries and remember those who caused them, we promote self. With self in the foreground, then the injury, instead of appearing less, appears greater. The injury and the self's ability to forgive becomes the focus not God's love and forgiveness.
All true Love is of God, and is God, so all true forgiveness is of God. The only solution is to kill self!

Cease trying to forgive those who hurt you or wronged you. It is a mistake to think about it. Aim at killing the self now! Then, and not until then, you will find there is nothing that even remembers injury because the only one injured, the self, is dead.

Release As Well As Forgive

As long as a slight or injury recurs to your mind you deceive yourself if you think it forgiven. Forgiving injuries can be one way of feeding a self-life. While forgive and forgiveness are biblical terms, I prefer to use the term and the process of "releasing" in conjunction with forgivng.
Releasing others from judgement is key to resolving hurts and injuries. Releasing is an act of the will, and almost everyone has the ability to choose to release or to hold on to the hurts.

Jesus set the example for us. From the Cross, He prayed, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." I've used this same prayer, with a small change, with folks who have been severely abused. I explain to them that they do not need to "feel" anything, but simply decide to release the one who hurt them. Jesus did not say "I forgive you", but prayed that His Father would forgive them. When the counselee is struggling with forgiveness, I ask them to turn it over to God as an act of their will. I have them pray, "Father, I forgive [name] even if they knew what they were doing." Releasing someone from judgement is also resigning from playing god. God has not called us to management but to sales. After praying the prayer of release, numerous counselees have exclaimed,"I feel a real weight came off me when I released my offender." While we do not live by feelings, the releasing of anger, bitterness, hate, and vengence does lighten a person's psychic load, and thus takes a weight off the person!

God Gives Us Free Will

People who have been abused, abandoned or seriously hurt have a choice of dying to self or saving the self. God gives us free will. He has set before us life and death, and asks us to "choose this day whom you will serve." If a person embraces his hurts, he is likely to become more bitter. Hurt and bitterness tend to attract more of the same. The other option is to embrace the cross, die to self and be healed. To come to Jesus and be healed one must come by way of the cross. A significant part of embracing the cross or dying to self is to release those who have hurt you. To be healed, the person seeking healing must release the abusers from the judgements they have been holding against them. If you and I do not choose to release them, we hold ourselves and the offender in bondage. I've often said, "Whoever we hate, we live with." In other words, by refusing to release others from judgement, we literally bind ourselves to the abusive person and to the pain associated with the abusive events. As we truly die to self and release the offenders, we open the door for Jesus to come in and we become receptive to His healing and wholeness!

The Goal Is Wholeness

As a family counselor, the goal I aim for is wholeness for hurting people who are suffering from their past. My prayer for the one reading this is that the eyes of your understanding will be opened and you'll know how to deal with your "self". I hope you will gain insight into how you have dealt with the "self", or have not dealt with the "self". I am very aware, and compassionately so, that those reading this have had their share of hurts, rejections, family problems and a variety of "soul pains". One can spend a lifetime rehearsing the hurts and slights inflicted on them by family members and others. Rehearsing such only helps if the injured party really wants to move beyond the past. God's name is I AM. He is not in the past as I WAS. He is not in the future as I WILL BE. Our Lord is a RIGHT NOW God. My main concern is to point you to true healing so that you can be free of the pain and experience New Life in Jesus Christ.

How Do We Receive Wholeness?

The balance of this writing will attempt to answer the "HOW TO" question presented in the subheading above.
How does one truly receive wholeness? While there may be many routes to such healing, the only total and permanent "cure" is death to self! There is no "gentle" way to deal with dying to self. Jesus calls us to "take up your cross and follow me."

The "Self" Does Not Want to Die

We are "born in sin" or we come into this earth life with a fallen nature because of the sin of Adam and Eve. A small child does not have to learn to be self-centered. It comes naturally. Anyone who has witnessed a two-year old throwing a temper tantrum knows that the unredeemed self is not nice company! It is human nature to be self centered! A 2-year old or a 40-year old, each wanting only his way, gives evidence of our need to die to self.
We are incurably selfish, and only a commitment to Jesus Christ and total death to self will bring healing to the soul.


From my perspective as a follower of Christ, the epicenter of all history is the Christ Event. By this term I mean the entire life, teachings, death, resurrection, ascension, present-day intercession at the right hand of the Father, and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. It is a matter of historical record that Jesus Christ of Nazareth died by crucifixion about 33 A.D. Our Lord's death by crucifixion and His resurrection is the centerpiece of our Christian faith. The twin events of our Lord's death and resurrection have been the theme of literally tens of thousands of books, commentaries, hymns, videos, stage productions and sermons. It is not necessary in this writing to elaborate on this dual theme of Crucifixion and Resurrection. The main thing is for the believer to experience crucifixion and resurrection in his or her own life.

Our Cross

While most of us have an understanding of the Cross of Christ, the more personal issue of "our cross" is not as well known. Jesus faced his own crucifixion in the Garden of Gethsemane. His final prayer was "Father. . . not my will, but thy will be done." While he died later on the cross, his final decision to obey God was in the Garden. Likewise, our "cross" is not a real cross or place of Roman execution, but our cross appears whenever and whereever we face a choice of going our way or going God's way. Our personal cross becomes reality when our will and our selfish purpose intersect with God's will and His purpose for us. Such "intersections" of choices present us with the same crisis Jesus had in the Garden. We have a choice of taking up our cross or refusing our cross. If we say "yes" to God and "no" to our self-centered will and desires, we follow Jesus' example. We truly take up our cross and follow Him when we say "yes" to His will and "no" to our selfish desires!!!

The Finished Work of Christ

We have daily choices to either die to self or feed and nurture the self life. In Luke's Gospel, Jesus said, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me"[KJV]. Our part in crucifixion or death to self is minor compared to what Jesus has already done for us. The great good news is that the life, death and resurrection of Jesus is a finished work! There are many scriptures we could quote, but the following passage summarizes our Lord's finished work in a way that applies to our embracing the cross.Galatians 2:20, written by the Apostle Paul, states the issue like this: "I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me"[KJV].

This verse describes the "GREAT EXCHANGE"— our life for his life; our sins for his righteousness (*); our poverty for His wealth; our mortality for His immortality; our frail life for His Resurrection Life! The Christian life is not a matter of doing good works in order to please God. We cannot add anything to the perfect and finished work of Jesus Christ. All we can "add" is our obedience to His will, and thereby receive, by grace, his perfect life living in us as us.
(*) II Corinthians 5:21, puts it like this: "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" [NAS], In theological terms this is called our "standing" with God. If we have trusted Jesus Christ as our savior, we are literally standing righteous before a Holy God. We have nothing to be ashamed of nor do we carry any load of guilt. We are truly "made righteous" in Christ! We do not fear judgement or hell because we are 100% righteous before our Heavenly Father. When God the Father looks at us. He sees Jesus and His righteousness.

Romans 6:3-7, is another passage which helps describe the finished work of Christ. In this passage, Paul describes our "union" with Christ in both His death and resurrection. Verse 3—"Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? [4] Therefore, we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. [5] For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection. [6] knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; [7] for he who has died is free from sin" [NAS], How should we respond? We should embrace the Cross, and get a mouth full of splinters!!!
As we continue to embrace the cross, the life of Jesus in us, the new life, takes over!


Let me rehearse some of the terms we've used earlier and expand on them to help the reader better understand.
An "imprisoned" or "captive" self refers to a person who has not really died to self, but through religious legalism or sheer will power tries to keep his lower self in check. The evil desires this person has are kept pushed down or submerged because they are not socially acceptable. He chokes off his real desires and pretends to be a good person on the outside, but inside he burns with desires to do evil. In Romans seven [7] Paul describes his own struggles. The tragic part of this person with a captive self is that the self still rages inside him. Given the right circumstances, the imprisoned self will break out of captivity and the real self is on display! In most cases, the scene that results is not nice! The Apostle Paul does not continue stuggling with the captive self, but Romans 8 is a statement of a man who has died to self, and is living in union with Christ. We too should move from Romans, Chapter 7 to Romans, Chapter 8!!!

On The Positive Side

On the positive side, the person who has embraced the cross has new life. This term, "New Life" is the life we have because we were raised with Christ from the dead, and the New Life we live is the life of Christ within us. It is not a struggle to live, but Christ does the living for us—in us and through us as us. Jesus is our substitute in death and our substitute in life!!!
Releasing Others from Judgement
We have also urged our readers to quit trying to forgive someone who has hurt us or disappointed us. The better term and action is to "release" our offenders from judgment. It is an act of the will to "release". It is not within our human power to forgive, but we can decide to quit "playing God" and holding others in judgment. The more we rehearse our hurts, the more bitter we become. Pride enters the door if we boast of how loving and forgiving we are. The more we talk about how we've "forgiven" the offender, the more we exalt the self.
The only solution to unforgiveness, bitterness and judgment is to die to self. A truly dead person cannot be "offended"! To use a physical example:
If a person is dead and his body is in the morgue, he cannot be tempted to sin. You can offer him money, and he will not steal; you can offer him pornography and he will not be tempted to sin. He is dead. Only a self that is not totally dead can be tempted to sin.

How Do We Kill Self?

We kill the self by denying it and refusing to give in to the demands of self. We are able to do this because Christ has already done all things for us through his life, death and resurrection. Our old man was crucified with Christ [Romans 6:3-7]. Since the old man is dead it can neither forgive nor can it sin. Therefore, we are urged by St. Paul to "reckon" or consider the "old man" to be dead and buried with Christ! The deception of forgiving injuries is that you feed the undead self. Talking about or going through the motions of forgiving a person or group of people who have offended us, only strengthens the self and gives it life. The goal of God is to crucify the self. Anything that encourages us to save or protect our self is not part of God's purpose for us.


If you've read this far, you are a candidate for total healing of inner hurts. It is your choice, you can embrace the cross and be healed or turn away from the cross and embrace your hurts! Jesus did not give us a third alternative. Under the Roman empire, crucifixion was the most barbaric form of putting people to death. It was capital punishment at it cruelist and was done in public to shame the criminal and frighten the citizens and discourage crime. Our Lord completely transformed the way we look at the Cross. Instead of an evil symbol, it is now the symbol of hope. It is now the great plus sign of all eternity. Because he died on a Cross our sins are fully paid, our salvation is complete and we are set free from hurts, pains, sins and shame! Taking up our cross does not require that we shed blood, and die a brutal physical death. But our death to self is painful [saying "no" to the self] . Our death to self does require sacrifice [laying our all on the altar of God's will]. The GOOD NEWS is that there's room at the Cross for everyone. All we have to "add" to the finished work of Christ is to be willing to be willing to do God's will. Every man, woman and child has been given a will with which to decide. I put it simply like this: God has voted for you; Satan had voted against you; and how you vote decides the election [John 10:10].
I urge you to embrace the cross and get a mouth full of splinters! Not only will you be totally and permanently healed, but you will be better prepared to help others who are hurting.

Let me strongly urge you, if you have not already done so, to view the movie 'The Passion of Christ". This film shows how much Christ suffered for our sins. Once you've seen this, please read Max Luccado's Give It All To Him. (**) This little book gives a good word picture of how we must choose to give all our "garbage" to Him. If you will understand first that Jesus already carried your sins, sicknesses and sorrows, you will understand that you do not have to carry them. Since He has already carried our hurts, pains and sorrows, why not GIVE IT ALL TO HIM!

(**) Copies are available FREE from Sav-A-Child office A word from our Founder
In the mid 1980's I was the pastor of a church in Jacksonville, Florida. As a local church pastor, I was in my "comfort zone", but the Lord began disturbing me with the cries for help of hurting young victims within society. Initially, the horror of abortion caught my attention. I then began to see the much larger picture of those children who had escaped the death chamber of their mother's womb, but who now grew up neglected, abused, and "thrown away". "Throw-away children are those whose parents and family have "given up" on them, and literally told them to "hit the road and don't come back".
In September 1994 I disengaged from pastoral ministry and began full time leadership of SAV-A-CHILD. Since obeying the Lord, I have witnessed many miracles in the lives of those being touched by this ministry.
I realize that it is by the Lord's grace, and His grace alone, that we are allowed the High calling of leading this "bench mark" ministry. We hope that you will prayerfully consider joining us as we "Partner with Children" and see the vision God has placed in our hearts continue to unfold.

Dr. Arville L. Renner

Thursday, August 16, 2007





By: Rev. Arville L. Renner, Ph.D.


Obviously, if you are reading this, you have admitted having an anger control issue. Be assured that this is nothing to be ashamed of, and it is likewise not to be ignored. You may be a past or present victim of someone’s anger and/or violence. In either case my goal is to help bring about healing.

As the author of this paper, I am aware that there other sources available that deal with this subject. The court system in this country has dealt with domestic violence issues for many years. Persons convicted of committing domestic violence are usually either given jail time or mandated to take a course in anger management or anger control. In some case, a violent offender may be incarcerated and mandated to take the classes in anger management while he is in jail.

I say all this to say that the following is my own creation. I have not consulted any of the material that’s “out there”, but have simply written from my own experience. You may conclude at the beginning that this omission on my part lessens the value of this paper. That may or may not be true, but I really believe the substance of this paper will help you if you are sincerely wanting help with your anger!!!

Please make the effort to read all of the following. If you are in counseling with me, we will discuss any and all parts of this that is not clear.

Man is a Three-Part Being

In order to get a handle on the subject of anger control, it is important to lay a foundation of what and who man is. The biblical definition of man is that God created us as a three-part being.

God created us as a spirit, with a soul and both the spirit and soul use the body as an instrument in order to function in time and space.

The physical body is the most obvious part of man and has been studied and researched more than the other two parts. Medical science has made incredible advancements, and we pray that science will continue to help us be good stewards of our bodies.

In the physical realm, it is a fact that chemical imbalance can contribute to the lack of emotional control. It is also factual that certain medications mixed with other medications can cause a harmful interaction in the body. It is a matter of record that perfectly normal persons, under the influence of legal or illegal drugs, have behaved in a totally irrational manner. I heard of one man who was a mild-mannered, law-abiding citizen and while under the influence of Prozac robbed a bank! My point is that lack of emotional control may have a variety of causative factors—physical [chemical], mental, emotional and/or spiritual. A comprehensive guide to the control of anger would include all known causative factors. The author does not, repeat—does not—even pretend that this writing is comprehensive in its scope. However, the treatment of anger control, in order to be complete or comprehensive, must take seriously all three parts of the human being—body, soul and spirit.

Man is A Spirit

The biblical understanding of man clearly defines him as a spiritual being. Our spirit is the eternal part of us that lives for- ever. Paul, in Ephesians 2:1 describes man [before one is saved or “born again”] as “dead in your trespasses and sins.” When a person is saved or “born again” he/she is then joined with Christ in the spirit. Again, according to Paul in Ephesians 2:5b, when we are joined to Christ, He “made us alive. . .”

This biblical or theological issue is the central issue in a discussion of our ability to control anger. The spirit or the inner man is the control center of man; thus, a born-again Christian is under the control of Jesus Christ. Thus, he cannot be totally controlled by any outside influence unless he or she chooses to yield to such control. The born-again person has a “free” will, and cannot be made to do something unless he or she chooses to do it. The cute phrase, “The devil made me do it” is not biblical.

The Soul or Personality Is The Battleground

The soul is often confused with the spirit, but should not be. The soul is the human “personality” and includes mind, will and emotion. The mind—both the conscious and subconscious-- is a repository of memory. These memories are stored, and much like the hard drive on our computer, the data filed away in our memory can be accessed. Medical science has stimulated parts of the brain and enabled a person to recall exact smells, sights, sounds and events which took place 40 or 50 years ago. The most vivid recall of memory is often associated with both negative and positive emotion. In my experience, memories which are “charged” with the most intense emotion are usually most likely to be recalled in counseling or in any other setting which lends itself to the recall of past events.

Scores of survivors of a near-death experience have had the identical experience. This experience is that they have their whole life “flash” before them. Such recall is described as a video in fast forward. This proves to my satisfaction that the human memory has stored every word, thought and event in a person’s life. Given a sufficient stimuli, the memory can be accessed like the data on a hard drive!

Some of these stored memories are wrapped or charged with very intense emotion. When discussing anger or rage, it is the negative memory associated with hurtful events which are accessed. The memories may be conscious or may be below the conscious level. In other words, some current event may tap into a past hurtful memory without the person even consciously realizing “why” he is so angry. In other cases, the angry person may be totally aware of the relationship between the current event and the past memory. For example, here’s a young married woman who had an alcoholic father who was also abusive. She gets married to a fine young man who doesn’t smoke or drink. After five years of marriage, her husband comes home drunk and out of control. The woman goes “ballistic” ! Why? The answer is obvious. Her present circumstance taps into the reserve of very intensely negative memories from her childhood. In the midst of her fit of anger at her husband’s drunken condition, she may or may not be conscious of the overlapping memories of her father. When she comes for counseling, I am going straight for her hate, resentment and unforgiveness towards her father. Even though her husband was drunk, it was out of character, and her bitter roots of expectation contributed to his actions.

There is No Separation In The Parts of the Soul

For sake of discussion, we divide the soul into three parts. These “parts” constantly interplay and overlap. It is not possible to surgically separate the mind, will and emotions. The interplay goes something like this: The will stands sentinel over the entire soul. With a person’s will he or she decides what is allowed into the mind and the will also decides how far and wide to let emotions show themselves. The will is strongly influenced by memory and emotion, but a truly “free” will does not “have to” let anything in or out of the soul. The mind and emotions are clearly intermingled. The mind or memory, as it relates to anger, is often “charged” or empowered by negative emotions.

Oppression May Be In One Area Of The Soul

For the follower of Christ, it is only in the area of the soul that a person may be “oppressed”. A believer in Christ is in union or at-one with Christ in the area of the spirit! Therefore, he cannot be oppressed in his spirit because Jesus cannot be oppressed. Another description of the “soul” is “personality”. In these terms a person may have an area of his personality that is either wounded or weak or both wounded and weak. This weakness or wound leaves that person vulnerable. For example, a truly born again Christian who seems to have everything “together” may have a weakness in the area of money management. Perhaps his family was very poor, and he is obsessed with using credit cards to “overcome” his poverty and to “keep up with the neighbors.

Another Christian person may have a weakness in the area of sexual sin. For example, here is a young man whose father was sexually perverted and promiscuous. His son is influenced by both example and genetic tendencies to also be sexually perverted or promiscuous. If the son holds resentment towards his dad, he is determined by spiritual law [Matthew 7:1,2] to become just like his dad. Even if the son is a Christian, the area of his sexual appetites can be under the influence of another spirit other than Jesus Christ. We commonly call this person “oppressed”. This oppression is usually traced back to the influence of the person’s parents or other significant persons.

Since this paper is focused on anger control and not sexual addictions, let us close this section by simply stating that it is common for persons with anger control problems to be the victims of verbal, physical or sexual abuse or all three. The person with anger that is out of control should exam his heart and admit and confess if he still holds resentment toward a parent or other significant person in his past.

Wounds in the Soul Need Healing

The wounds in the soul are not visible, but are just as real as an abrasion or broken arm. Although hidden to the untrained eye, they do erupt in fits of anger or domestic violence.

In other ways these wounds in the soul may be the root causes of diseases of the body—high blood pressure; strokes; aneurysms; ulcers; gastritis, etc. In the mental/emotional areas such unhealthy souls may have sudden panic attacks; depression; bad dreams; mentally “zoning out” or have sudden inexplicable outburst of anger.

Don’t Give A Foothold to The Devil

The wounded soul is also more subject to being invaded by a demonic force than one who is healthy. Since a born again Christian is “joined to Christ” in the spirit, he or she cannot be “possessed” completely by an evil spirit. However, because the soul and spirit are often considered to be the same, one may also confuse an oppressed person with a person who is totally possessed by an evil spirit. For the follower of Christ, the soul is the battleground! More specifically, the mind is the most critical part of the battleground. Control over anger or any other emotion is usually won or lost in the areas of memories charged with negative emotion. The will or the deciding part of us stands sentinel over the whole inner conflict!

Persons who come to me for help either see me as a miracle worker or a “dud”. I’ve discovered that the key is how badly a person wants help. If a person is desperate and has decided to change, I’m often used by God as a miracle worker!!! If a person comes because they’ve been forced to come or have come just to play games, not very much happens in their lives. A person’s desperation level is directly related to his will. To put it another way, has the person coming for help decided to change or is he waiting for someone else to change so that he can remain the same? The will is key to a person’s inner healing and effective control of anger.

Demons or Evil Spirits

It is a fact that a born-again Christian can be demonized in a specific area of his/her soul. We must keep in mind the fact that such demonic activity is limited to only a portion of that person’s being—not his whole being. The outward display of anger may, at times, involve all three components of the soul. We will come back to this discussion at a later point. For example, if a person allows anger to become out-of-control rage or “wrath”, demonic spirits are given an open door to move in and take over! The secular world calls this “temporary insanity” or a person “is beside himself”. When a normal, intelligent human being does something “out of character”, we must ask ourselves, “Why?”

A person under the influence of drugs may also open the door to evil spirits. When I was a pastor in Vero Beach, Florida, a young man [just a few miles down the road] came home one night and beat his mother to death with a claw hammer. When asked “Why?” he responded, “God told him to do it.” The God that Christians serve does not give such orders. Satan impersonates God, and in this case, there is no doubt in my mind that an evil spirit directed him in the murder of his mother!

Again, it is not my purpose to completely explain the activity of demons. It is my responsibility to warn those who allow themselves to get “out of control” that the devil and his legions can and do enter open doors given them by enraged persons.

A Key Scripture

The following biblical passage is the most direct and useful passage in the Bible regarding our proper handling of anger.

Paul, addressing the Ephesians, says “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down on your wrath: neither give place to the devil”[Ephesians 4:26, 27, K.J.V.]. The Message puts these verses in contemporary language: “Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.”

This particular biblical passage is basic to an understanding of the biblical way of controlling anger.

First, it is perfectly acceptable with God for us to be angry. The command here [in the author’s words] is : “It is O.K. to be angry! Go ahead, and let it all hang out. However, do not allow your anger to lead you into sin. In the heat of your emotional outburst, do not hurt or offend yourself or anyone or anything else. Keep your anger under control and don’t allow sinful thoughts or actions to hurt anyone [including yourself] or any of God’s creatures.”

In my opinion, it is much better to hit or destroy something than someone! However, even the damage to material things, like a wrecked automobile, is sinful because it can financially hurt the owner of the material object.


It is a known fact that an undetermined number of vehicular accidents are the result of suicide attempts or road rage. When the person is dead on arrival, it is almost impossible to “prove” that the person was emotionally “out of control!” When someone is killed or maimed or property is destroyed by out-of-control anger, the perpetrator has violated the command to “Be angry and sin not. . .”

Suicide is rooted and grounded in anger. Anger is always a key factor in threatened and successful suicide. Because of being hurt or rejected, a person will kill himself to “get even” with the person or agency who has hurt or harmed him.

Mercy-motivated people, those who are the most loving and compassionate [at heart], are statistically prone to homicide or suicide. The vast majority of those on death row are mercy-motivated people that Satan has twisted and perverted into killers. Anger, out of control, probably kills more people than cancer! Killing someone, either yourself or someone else is sin!

Other Ways Anger Can Result in Sin

Let me give another example of allowing anger to become sin. An 11-year old boy who came to me for help, told me that his dad [a drug addict] kicked this boy’s pet dog to death in front of him when he was 9 years old. This father allowed anger to result in a sinful act. The young man was deeply wounded by his father’s actions. Domestic violence, in any form, is sinful because it hurts people physically, spiritually and emotionally. Verbal abuse can be as harmful as physical abuse.

Second, the biblical advice here from Ephesians is [in the author’s words] don’t let little hurts from daily issues build up, but deal with them before going to bed each and every night. If we allow many suns to set and rise before dealing with the hurtful issues, we will eventually open the door to the devil. When enough anger/wrath builds up within us, we will either explode or implode. By “ex”plode I mean to express outwardly the anger or other emotions. Such exploding is usually very obvious to the person exploding as well as any who may be in the immediate area. By “im”plode, I mean that the negative emotion, like anger, is kept inside of the person and pushed down in order to hide the person’s true feelings. Given enough time and repeated hurts and great enough intensity of the feelings, there is likely to be an implosion. As I have stated earlier, these implosions may result in severe headaches, stomach ulcers, gastritis, high blood pressure, aneurysms, a stroke or heart attack. When we allow hurts to pile up day after day and night after night, we are much like a “pressure cooker”. When the pressure gets too great, we will either hurt someone or something else or the wrath will take its toll on the inside of us.

A Word Picture

Letting the sun go down on your wrath day after day, night after night is like sweeping the table scraps under the rug for a regular and long period of time. Soon, the ants show up, then the larger bugs, and finally the smell becomes intolerable. If left long enough, the maggots also will appear!!!

Even though over-simplified, this is a meaningful picture of what happens when we fail to deal with offenses on a daily basis.

A Biblical Example

Moses was a godly leader whom God used to deliver the Israelites from Egyptian slavery. The scriptures are replete with examples of how stubborn and rebellious the people of Israel were. Moses had many difficulties dealing with his fellow Jews.

The anger in Moses from these difficulties was building up over the years in the wilderness. There is an incident recorded in Numbers 20:11-13 in which Moses allows this anger to get out of control. It is interesting to note that 10 to 12 years prior to this incident there was another shortage of water. At the first crisis of the lack of water, Moses was commanded to strike the rock and water came running out to satisfy the 2 million plus people. Now, in this second incident, God specifically told him to “speak to the rock”, but in anger “. . .Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. And the LORD spake to Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel,

therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them. This is the water of Meribah; because the children of Israel strove with the LORD, and he was sanctified in them” [KJV].

Uncontrolled Anger Can Keep You From Your “Promise Land

Moses let too many suns go down on his wrath! He allowed the burdens of leadership of a rebellious people to become too great inside him. He had all he could take!!! He was angry at the people and called them “rebels” in Numbers 20:10. Even though the word anger or wrath is not used here in the Bible, it is obvious that Moses had allowed his frustrations with the people to build up so that he exploded in anger and struck the rock twice. His anger and actions combined into the sin of disobedience. This act of disobedience robbed him of entrance into the Promised Land! Likewise, others of us who allow anger to control us will end up missing out on the best life has to offer—especially in our closest relationships. It is in our best interest to bring our anger under control in order not to miss our “Promised Land”!

Aaron was also part of the judgement of God on the sin of disobedience. We read later in this same chapter of Numbers that Aaron was stripped of his garments, and died, and his son, Eleazar took his garments and his position as High Priest.

In Deuteronomy 32:51, 52, Moses’ sin of disobedience and the punishment thereof is recorded. Moses lived to be 120, and his death and burial is recorded in Deuteronomy 34.

To conclude this section, I simply want to point out that there are material, social, and spiritual consequences involved in letting your anger get out of control. Moses paid a very dear price. He was only allowed to view the Land of Promise from a distance. Joshua was chosen to replace him and Joshua, not Moses, led the children of Israel into Canaan! How sad that uncontrolled anger cost Moses his dearest dream!

If you are reading this, you probably have an anger control issue. I beg of you, get control of this emotion before it robs you of the best things and/or the dearest persons God has given you or promised you!

How Does A Person Control Anger?

First, one must be born again. That is, a person who is saved or transformed by the power of the shed blood of Jesus Christ is potentially able to bring any emotion under control—including anger.

II Corinthians 5:17 states it this way, “Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold new things have come” [N.A.S.].

I am purposely making these sections very brief. If, for any reason, a person reading this does not understand “how” to give his heart to the Lord, he should seek counsel from a Pastor or another mature Christian leader.

Second, one needs also the “fullness of the Spirit.” It is the author’s understanding that subsequent and separate from the new birth, is the baptism with the Holy Spirit. This may take place instantly following one’s conversion to Christ or it may take place at any time later if the believer truly seeks the fullness of the Spirit.

The key to the “fullness of the Holy Spirit” is the desire of the person seeking the fullness. Someone has described the baptism with the Holy Spirit as “more of Jesus.” Being saved or “born again” is the starting place, but being filled or baptized with the Holy Spirit is the empowerment for service.

The Control Issue

The reason both being born again and having the fullness of the Spirit are important is the issue of “control.” Our subject is the ability to “control” one’s anger. If Jesus is in your life, He is in union with your spirit which is the core of your being. Thus, the control center of your life is Jesus. His presence in you flows from the center or core of one’s being into and through the soul and the body.

Third, and finally, in order to be absolutely sure one does not allow “hidden” anger issues to erupt and cause hurt to you or those you love, a person needs inner healing. This is a very big subject which we cannot fully discuss in this writing. It has been adequately covered in many books written in recent years.

It is my experience that the most hurtful and damaging soul wounds come from the early childhood experiences with parents, other family members and significant others.

These hurtful family relationships are myriad. Dysfunctional families are the “norm” even in Christian families. These hurtful events fall into the categories of physical, sexual, mental and verbal abuse. The most hurtful is sexual abuse because it encompasses several of the general categories of abuse all in one. Sexual abuse is, at the same time physical, mental and [often also] verbal abuse. A person who is victimized in any of these various ways will carry hurt in his heart until he has truly released it to God, and released the perpetrator to God’s judgement by giving up their own need to judge or get even.

This process of “releasing” the hurtful event or experience is critical to wholeness on the part of the victim. Anger and resentment are almost always twin feelings buried in the soul as a result of being offended. One may be saved and filled with the fullness of God’s Spirit and still be holding on to offenses. With proper biblical teaching a person can begin to understand his or her own feelings which are buried. These unhealthy feelings can be surfaced by the Holy Spirit in many different venues. One such venue is working through a trained counselor who understands the biblical process of healing. Once surfaced, these hostile feelings need to be released by confession to God. It is often helpful to confess to another person. When we, from our heart [Matthew 18:35], confess our sins of hatred, bitterness and unforgiveness, the promise is: “He [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” [I John 1:9].

Other issues

One can be born again and have the fullness of the Spirit and still have life-controlling problems. I believe this is true in the case of drug abuse. I’ve witnessed persons who claim to be spirit-filled but still allow drugs and alcohol or cigarettes to control them.

How can this be?

There are several reasons this can happen.

First, there are generational sins or “family” sins passed on through the generations. For example, an abused child will often become an abusive parent. A person whose parents were very angry and verbally abusive will [in most cases] also be angry and verbally abusive with his/her own family. Unless or until the cycle is broken through forgiveness and reconciliation, these tendencies or sins will continue from generation to generation. If they go unchecked, these negative tendencies usually get worse instead of getting better.

Persons with problems of addiction are often products of parents who are also addicted to a substance or a pattern of behavior. An adult child of alcoholic parents may overcome drinking and yet be obsessive-compulsive in the area of food or be obsessive-compulsive in his work habits—often called “work-a-holic”.

It is not unusual for a person with anger control problems to be reacting to hurts inflicted 20 to 30 years prior to the outward expression of the buried anger. We have a tremendous capacity to store hurts away. If these hurts are not released, they will explode or implode at some time when we least expect it.

Let me refer you to a helpful tool. A little booklet Give It All To Him by Max Lucado. On the subject of “releasing” our hurts and sins to Jesus, this little book is one of the most powerful word pictures I’ve come across. Lucado pictures Jesus as a garbage collector, and we, who are still carrying our offenses and our own guilt over our own sins, carry bags of garbage with us. Until we let Him take the garbage, we are weighted down and unable to be all that God wants us to be. Anyone reading this may have a free copy by contacting me.

The Choice Of Marriage Partners

I’ve been witness to a man marrying a person with the same personality type as his mother. He marries the woman because he is drawn to the personality type, and then ends up hating his spouse because he still hates his mother. When it comes to relationships, the way we related in our family of origin is a most powerful determining factor of how we relate to all others, but especially our own family if we marry and have children.

This same dynamic also happens with the opposite gender. I’ve been witness to women who marry someone just like their daddy because she is looking for the love of her father which she never received. Again, unfortunately, these types of relationships often end up in more hurt and hate!

The Opposite Is Also True

When a little girl is abused or neglected by her father, she will go one of two ways. Either she will marry someone similar in personality to her dad or go the opposite extreme. When a person marries someone just like her dad, she is still seeking that “father love”. She will usually marry someone older. She does this with the hope that this older, more secure man will be able to fill the hole in her heart left by the absent or abusive father.

In most cases, the hate factor causes the person to marry someone most unlike the hated parent. In cases where the person is a cycle breaker [from his heart forgiving the hated parent], his marriage can be a success. If the hate factor is not truly dealt with, the marriage ends up being an unholy deadlock instead of a holy wedlock!

What’s In Your Heart?

Unresolved issues, in the heart of the person, stemming from his family of origin, follow him into adulthood and surface in whatever relationship he is involved--marriage or in other meaningful relationships.

Again, the early or formative years in a child’s life teach one how to relate to others. Since marriage is essentially living with the opposite gender person and bearing and raising children, the relationship with the opposite-gender parent in the home of origin has considerable influence on the way a spouse relates or doesn’t relate to his or her marriage partner. One reason persons turn to same-gender relationships is because they’ve given up on relating to the opposite sex—usually because of abuse or neglect. I have yet to find a practicing homosexual who had [as a child and adolescent] a truly healthy, wholesome relationship with his or her opposite gender parent.

The homosexual subculture in our society is populated by persons from dysfunctional homes. One is not “born” homosexual in orientation. Confusion over one’s gender identity and sexual orientation is directly related to unhealthy relationships with the parents or significant others. For example, most lesbians have been abused by a man or series of men. Thus, the female victim of abuse seeks the companionship of another woman because men can no longer be trusted. The “heart issue” in the cases of heterosexual relationships or homosexual relationships are based upon negative reactions towards the parents or significant others.

Hurts and hate allowed to remain in the heart of a person is sin. The victim of abuse, in most cases, is totally innocent. However, once he becomes a follower of Christ, it is a matter of choice as to whether he releases the perpetrator from judgement and receives healing of the soul!

Same-Sex Parent As A Negative Role Model

The foregoing discussion of hatred or resentment of the opposite-gender parent is only part of the picture. We tend to “model” or follow the example of the same-gender parent. In cases where the parent sets a good example, the child goes into marriage and treats his spouse the way he saw his role model treat his opposite gender parent. Furthermore, he also raises the children in the same way his parents did.

When a child has lived in a home with violence or abuse, he will often repeat that abuse in his new family. The exceptions to this rule are those who have become “cycle-breakers”—those who have accepted Christ and have received forgiveness for their sins. The real “cycle-breakers” are those who have released their parents from judgement—who “from their heart” [Matthew 18:35] have forgiven the abusive parent.

Let me site two examples: Jim’s dad repeatedly belittled and inflicted physical violence on his mother. At age thirteen, Jim waited late one afternoon at the front door with a 22-caliber rifle to kill his father. His mother talked him out of it, but the violence never stopped. In addition to his dad’s violence, Jim’s dad was also gone most of the time from home. He worked very long hours, and was rarely home. Jim remembers his mother taking he and his brother by the hand into the bedroom where their father was asleep, and announced to them, “This is your father.”

Jim is now in counseling after 23 years of a failed marriage. Why did his marriage fail? He was an absent and abusive husband and father! After 22 years, Jim began to deal with the anger and hatred toward his father. He and his dad are now reconciled, but the more than two decades of absence and abuse was too much for his wife. The divorce was just final.

An Example of A Cycle Breaker

Ray is now deceased, but he told me a little of the horror of his childhood. His father and his father’s brothers were notorious for violence—both in the home and outside in the streets. Ray finally had all he could take of his dad’s abuse of his mother. Ray pulled a double-barreled shot gun and held it to his dad’s head. He screamed, “If you ever lay a hand on my mom again, I will blow your - - - - - brains out!” It worked! The violence stopped.

Ray and his wife were part of a church in which I was the senior pastor. Ray was born again, and had dealt with the past. His wife was the most pampered woman in the church. He not only did not lay a hand on her or barely raise his voice to her, he spoiled her! Not only had the Lord helped him release the past, but he also made a vow as a child: “If I ever get married, I will treat my wife with respect and not behave like my dad!” He kept his vow!!!

These two true stories point up the difference between two men who had basically the same experience in their formative years. Jim had never dealt with his anger and unforgiveness which he held in his heart toward his dad. Because of the spiritual law stated in Matthew 7:1,2 and Matthew 18:21-35, He ended up acting much like his dad. He was not as violent, but he was an absent husband and father. He actually moved out the last two years before his marriage ended in divorce. Now, he is weeping and regretting his abandonment of his family, and now wants his wife and family back!!! His wife is not interested, but the children continue to suffer because of the strife and division they have lived through for years and years!!!

Ray, on the other hand, is a happy ending! Because of his ability to turn his anger and hatred towards his father over to the Lord, he made a good husband and father. He was a “cycle-breaker”. He did not carry the anger and hatred into his own family. His wife was treated as a woman should be treated. He worked at being a good father, and his children respected him.

Anger Can Hide or It Can Show Itself

The anger toward an abusive, neglectful or absent parent may be latent or active. The resentment and anger may lay dormant for 40 or 50 years, and end up revealing itself in many different ways. As I’ve said earlier, anger can be hidden and pushed down or it can “ex”press itself in outward actions. Even in a “hidden” state, it still does it’s dirty work. The case of Jim is notable. He was not nearly as abusive as his dad, but his inward model of his dad working all the time, was re-enforced by his latent or hidden anger towards his dad. He followed his dad’s example without being aware of it—until it had destroyed another marriage and family! Jim’s unforgiveness towards his dad bound him to the spiritual law of Matthew 7:1,2. The good news is that he and his dad now have a relationship and Jim is allowing God to change him. Who knows? Perhaps he and his wife will allow God to also heal their marriage and family!!!

Extreme Outcomes of Out-of-control Anger

When the anger/hate cycle is not broken, there are headlines in the daily news print cataloging the grisly results of eruptions of anger and rage. There are extreme cases of children killing their parents because of anger over being abused. Middle-aged women are taking their sexually abusive fathers or stepfathers to court to “get even” and realize some justice. Other angry children simply ignore their parents in order to even the score because they felt ignored as needy children and youth. This neglect of parents is most notable in the phenomena called “granny dumping”—the practice of children dumping a parent in a nursing home and never coming back to visit. Euthanasia is another “modern” form of getting rid of older parents or grandparents who are “in the way” and not producing anything. In some case, having them put to sleep in order to inherit the estate.


These headlines do not have to be written because the cycle of hate can be broken. God’s love, acceptance and forgiveness is totally sufficient for any situation!

If you’ve read to this point, and you still don’t know “how” to deal with you anger, please go back and re-read the “how to” sections. If that doesn’t help, please set up an appointment with a competent Christian pastor or counselor and deal biblically with your anger before you miss your promised land!

The Good News about Anger

I’ll close out this article with really “GOOD NEWS”! Passionate people are usually the people God uses to be shakers and movers in His Kingdom!

By “passionate” I mean people with strong feelings and highly motivated people! The person with an anger problem, once they become a cycle breaker, have the potential of doing great things for God.

Out-of-control anger is a perversion of Satan. The devil usually takes a person’s gifts and twists them or perverts them into the opposite. Anger is a perversion of love and compassion. Love and compassion is the divine energy that advances the Kingdom of God on earth!

If you are reading this, and you’ve managed your anger in a biblical manner, you are now ready to be used of God. If you’ve broken the cycle of hate, bitterness and anger, you are now ready to love the unlovely and to have Jesus-like compassion for the lost and hurting!!!

In the parable of the hundred sheep, Jesus is the Good Shepherd who leaves the 99 who are safely in the fold, and goes after the one which is lost!!! The once-angry follower of Christ, who is now delivered of such anger and rage, is now positioned to be a lover of souls.

Let God use you mightily. Remember all the negative energy you’ve expended in anger is now a poised and positive weapon which you can use against the enemy of our souls!

REMEMBER: You heard it here first: People once hopelessly controlled by anger and rage are the front-line lovers of God and lovers of people in the spirit and name of Jesus Christ!!!

You Have A Choice

Now that you’ve read [and hopefully understood] this Biblical Guide to Anger Control, you have a choice. I set before you life or death—to be a hater or a lover!

You are the only one who can make the choice. To repeat: The most powerful and positive way to deal with anger is for the victim of abuse or neglect to release the victimizer from judgement. That is a choice. If you are mad, you are mad at someone or something.

You can choose to let go and let God, or you can choose to hold on to your hurts and resentments. What is so wonderful about this whole process is that anyone—yes anyone—can do it!!!

This can be done by anyone if they “will” to do it. Releasing someone, something or some agency or church or corporation from judgement is an act of the will. Anyone can decide to do that. You don’t have to be smart, or beautiful or educated or have any particular gifting or talent. Anyone can choose to forgive!

I know you’ll make the right choice because God has destined you be a passionate lover of Him and a lover of His people!!!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


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