Hassan, a rich store owner, had two sons. He gave them everything they could wish, for a good and happy life. They grew up knowing only love, peace and trust in the family. The boys were more than just brothers: they were the best of friends. In the cool of the evening you could see them walking and talking together. It was clear that being together in work or play was plainly a joy to them. There was complete trust between them. Each knew that whatever his brother did would be best for both. As they grew older, they gladly worked together in their father’s store.
This story is similar to that of Adam and Eve in the Holy Bible. God showed them that he was worthy of trust. At first, all was well with them. God gave them everything they could need for a good and happy life in paradise. He gave them his blessings and generous love. He made it clear to them that everything in the garden was for their benefit. Even the one limit he gave to their freedom was for their benefit. “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”1
When Hassan, their father died, the brothers ran the shop as partners. There was no need for a written agreement. They did not need legal papers to show ownership. What belonged to one belonged to both. They shared equally the costs and the profits from the store.
Adam and Eve trusted God. They believed his purpose and plans for them were true and good. They believed that God was for them and not against them. Therefore, they could completely obey him and his word, including the one limit he gave them. As long as there was complete trust, the Creator and his creatures could live in joyful oneness. They could joyfully talk with God and listen to him.
Then Satan, in the form of a serpent, slips in and plants the seed of doubt. “Did God REALLY say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” He attacks the basic thoughts and attitudes of the creature toward the Creator. He begins by trying to make Eve doubt herself and her understanding of what God said. The woman replies to Satan, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God says, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.”‘2
One morning a customer bought some goods. He paid for the goods with the nation’s largest coin. The brother who served him laid the coin on top of the cash box and walked the customer out of the store. Later, he remembered the coin, but when he went to the cash box, the coin was gone. He asked his brother if he had seen it. The brother replied that he had not. “That’s strange,” said the first brother. “I remember laying it right here, and no one else has been here but you and me. ” A seed of doubt was planted in his mind.
Later, the first brother asked again: “About the coin. Are you sure you did not do something with it?” With this question the other brother felt he was being accused of taking the coin. He spoke back in anger saying he never saw the coin. For the first time ever, there was a serious break in their relationship. Even though they had plenty of money, that one coin became most important.
“You will not surely die,” the devil said to Eve. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”3 Even though they could have all the other fruit in the Garden, her desire for the forbidden fruit increased. It finally became the most important fruit to her. The woman saw that the fruit of the tree was “good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom.”4 Satan pictured God as opposing Adam and Eve. Eve began to doubt God and his word, to stop trusting and obeying. She began to question the goodness of God: Did God really want what was best for them? Perhaps God was their enemy and not really their friend. She judged God and his command as being against them.
A lack of trust developed between the brothers. Slowly, the tension between them grew until they decided they could no longer work together as partners. They even built a wall down the middle of the store and refused to have any dealings with each other.
Then one day a stranger came and entered one of the stores. He asked the owner how long he had been in business in that place. When he found out it was over twenty years, he reached into his pocket and said: “Then you are the one with whom I must settle an old debt.”
He told his story: “Twenty years ago I lived like a beggar going from village to village. I came to this village and had not eaten for two days. I had no money to buy food and was not well enough to work. While walking behind this store, I looked in and saw the coin on the coin box. I was so hungry and no one was around, I slipped in and took it. That act has been on my conscience ever since. I decided I would never have any peace until I came back and made it right. Please accept your money with interest.”
The old shop owner began to cry. “Come next door with me,” he said. “I want you to repeat your story to someone else. ” So he did. Two old men now stood crying and hugging each other. They had wasted twenty years in anger because of a wrong judgment and lack of trust. Besides destroying the trust with God. Satan destroys trust between people which leads to unhealthy anger and broken relationships.
There are ways to deal with anger in a healthy manner which will help restore relationships.
ADMIT. Acknowledge your feelings and be responsible in how you express them.
RELAX. Take a deep breath and slowly count to ten. Relax by slowing down and giving yourself some time to think. Then ask yourself question like: Why am I angry? What is the source of my anger? What can I do about it? Is there possibly another reason why the event happened the way it did? You should not have to put up with verbal or physical abuse. If you need to confront someone you are angry with, do it, but not while you are upset.
TALK. Talk problems out with friends or with someone you can trust. Find a neutral person, one who will not keep your anger boiling. Avoid accusations when you talk with those you are angry with.
WRITE. Write down your feelings. This will help you to identify what makes you angry. Write a letter to the person who is the cause of your anger and then rip it up!
FORGIVE. Sometimes the answer for anger is in tolerance, respect and forgiveness. Forgiveness, peace and love demand more courage than hitting someone or building walls.
BE POSITIVE. Keep your language calm and clear. Standing up for yourself does not mean you should put down someone else. An individual was angry with God because there was poverty in his community. He asked, “Why doesn’t God do something about the poverty?” A wise friend responded, “God did do something, he created you and placed the concern in your heart. Now, what are you going to do about the poverty?”
GET PHYSICAL. Take a walk, build something or take part in some other positive physical activity.
PRAY. If you know that you have a problem controlling your anger, pray about it. Pray that God will work in your heart. If you trust God and let him work in your heart, you will meet your challenge.
“May the LORD answer you when you are in distress; May he send you help … May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.”5
Would you like to know more about God and his will for your life? Write to us if you would like to study a free correspondence course.