Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

October 14, 2018


Give it up before the sun goes down


            If your work involves managing people, you would find helpful the book, Everyone’s a Coach, by Ken Blanchard and Don Shula. Good managers of people are “coaches” who want their teams to succeed.

            A great coach will learn how to deal with anger, his own as well as the anger of others. My friend Billy Gaither reminded me of the story Ken Blanchard tells about how he handled anger in his own life.

            Blanchard’s son Scott, a senior in high school, had a habit of parking his truck in the driveway of their home, making it impossible for the rest of the family to get in or out of the driveway. Ken repeatedly told Scott to park his truck on the street. Scott ignored his father’s pleas.

            One day, Ken came home to find the truck once again blocking his use of the driveway. Even worse, Scott was gone and had taken the keys to the truck with him. Blanchard became furious. When Scott came home, three hours later, his father stormed out the house and confronted his son in the yard, vehemently venting his anger.

            As Ken walked back inside the house, Scott followed him into the kitchen said to him, “Dad, you forgot the last part of the reprimand, you know, the part about ‘You’re a good kid, I love you, and this is so unlike you.’”

            Ken began laughing and the two hugged each other. The angry reprimand was quickly followed by a humorous reconciliation. Later, Ken said, “Scott never left his truck in the driveway again and I got better at reaffirming at the end of a reprimand.”

            And Ken’s counsel for us, when in similar situations: “Tell the other person how much they mean to you. Let them know by your words and actions that they are cherished. Praise them for what they do well.” That is good coaching!

            When our boys were growing up, I struggled with my own anger and did not handle it well many times. But I found in the teaching of Saint Paul a verse that became my favorite verse in the New Testament: Ephesians 4:32 – “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.” It remains my favorite verse because it describes the way I need to treat my family and others who may sometimes stir my anger.

            Earlier, in that same letter to the Ephesians, Paul writes: “In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold” (4:26-27). So when you pray for me, you might say, “Lord, help Walter to get rid of all anger before the sun goes down so the devil won’t get a foothold in his heart.”

            Or you could pray that I will have the good sense not to follow the advice of Phyllis Diller who said: “Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight.”

            Paul’s counsel is best: Give it up before the sun sets. + + +