Most who knew him would concur that our dad was perhaps the kindest man who they ever met. And we saw it first hand. It is the one word that probably best describes dad - he had a sweet, gentle and kind disposition toward all. BUT...I saw my dad angry three times that I remember - once with one of my brothers when he left car keys 100 miles from where they had gone to pick up a broken down car, once with the other brother (more on that below) and once with a random gas station attendant.
He handled his anger well and I suspicion that those three times it was a combination of things and the event was the last straw. The gas station story is the best but I’ll save that one for another day. One of my brothers (I’m removing names to protect the guilty :)) could always rig up anything. He was gifted. He could take anything about and put it back together. He knew how things worked and how to make things work. And he was creative. At some point he took an old console TV that had a stereo turntable and radio in it and rigged it where he had speakers throughout the house and could adjust them from his room. It was super cool. Until one night when he was listening to one of our favorite groups growing up - Pink Floyd, Peter Frampton, KISS, Jefferson Airplane or one of those groups mom and dad didn’t like. Dad told him to turn it down. It gets fuzzy here but he either accidentally turned it up instead or, as with these groups, the music just got louder and it seemed he had. Regardless. In a few minutes dad went into his room, pulled the console away from the wall, took the back off and just started pulling wires out. Then he want back to bed. I’m not sure he said a word. That was a long way to say: Turning the volume up doesn’t fix most things in life.
As a preacher I imagine there are times that we all raise our voices BUT it rarely changes anything. I'm not sure where we learned that was an effective, or even helpful approach? In fact, most of the time when people have yelled at me in life it has only made me hurt, afraid or stolen my confidence. I’ve had coaches who did that and others. It just rarely works. I’ve seen parents who turn up the volume thinking it will get their children’s attention and it not work and I’ve seen parents who with just a look can get the desired results. If you're bold enough, you might ask around - see if you are yelling too much. And it's effect. You might be surprised at what you learn.
Tomorrow, maybe out of frustration, maybe because you saw it modeled by someone or perhaps because you are just that “mad” preacher some of you will yell. I realized this week that sometimes I raise my voice too much in the pulpit and I’ve been trying to evaluate that all week. Think about it. Is it effective? Would the Lord do that to get His point across? How does it affect you when someone screams at you? (2 Timothy 2:24).