I read in an article many years ago that former US President, Harry Truman, made this rule for himself: Every time he wrote an angry letter, he would leave it on his desk for 24 hours. The following day, he would decide whether or not to mail it. At the end of his life, he had a large drawer filled with unmailed letters. Perhaps, because of his church upbringing, he knew what the Bible says about the damage unchecked anger can inflict. Here are just two verses that warn us about uncontrolled anger. Proverbs 15:18 says: A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel, and Ecclesiastes 7:9 adds: Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger rests in the bosom of fools. This second verse sounds a bit harsh but if we’re honest, all of us feel like fools after an episode where our anger got the best of us and hurt others in the process.
Maybe we can adopt the rule President Truman made for himself, whether it involves holding our tongue or an angry unmailed e-mail message or letter. You might ask, “Is that even possible?” If you believe God and His word and if you believe as the Apostle Paul that we can do all things through Christ who gives us the strength, it is. (See Philippians 4:13)After all, according to Galatians 5:22-23, peace, patience, gentleness, and self-control are just some of the fruits of the Spirit of God that reside inside all His children. As an old Prego Sauce TV commercial used to say, “Its in there.”
Lets not be so quick to brush this matter off and say, as many folks do, that its no big deal, that everybody blows off steam once in a while. The truth is that it is a big deal. Anger is destructive and it’s effects can last for a lifetime. Murders are committed every day because of it. Some of you who are reading this blog today have either been victimized by it, or else you have victimized others with it. Yes, I admit we all lash out from time to time. Still, that does not make it right, and no, we are not like everyone else. We are the people of God and He will faithfully help us to bless others, not intimidate them.
Memory verse for the week: (Colossians 3:15) Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.