Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.
Reflection by Lynne Buell
Uncontrolled anger is a huge problem in our world. We hear about it in the news every day. Whether it’s about a hate crime or a suicide bomber, we may think, “Well, that’s what our world has come to nowadays.” We are naïve if we think that uncontrolled anger is a problem only with situations we hear about through the media. While I will not pull out a gun every time someone cuts me off in traffic, I can feel my heart pounding in irritation thus raising my blood pressure which remains with me until I reach my destination. After a while, I begin to think about how that bit of anger took time away from enjoying the music I have on the radio as well as the loveliness of the day. Children observe anger when their parents attack coaches when competing at a sports event, and sadly some witness fury between their parents being verbally and physically abusive with each other. These events could have an unhappy affect on their lives for years to come.
Paul’s demands in the scripture seem to indicate that anger is a sin; that we cannot use the “we’re only human” excuse to support our outbursts of rage. We need to begin to train our temper and ask ourselves why we have this bitterness and what triggered our resentment. Replace these feelings with forgiveness just as God in Christ forgives us. Seek the Spirit’s help through prayer (after you take that deep breath). Someone very special told me recently that difficult situations are God’s way of training us towards decency…maybe not in those exact words, but you get my drift. This phrase will be my new focal point.
10 Many are the torments of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the Lord. 11 Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.