When angry, think before you act
Many murders are a result of someone acting out of anger in a misdirected way, often without thinking of the ultimate consequences. This has been going on since the beginning of time, when Cain killed Abel. And yet thousands of years later, we still have not learned our lesson.
Sometimes our anger is caused by something that is done directly to us, such as being terminated from our jobs. We have seen instances where the terminated employee returns to work and harms or kills the manager or even innocent employees. But what good has come from that? Nothing. In Proverbs 19:11 we read, “It is good sense in a man to be slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” Why have we not taken this to heart?
Other times our anger may be caused by something that is done intentionally to a friend, spouse or family member; for instance, they are cursed at by someone who got up on the wrong side of the bed. The immediate reaction might be to pick a fight with the classless person who has affronted the person we are taking up for, but that just causes someone to wind up in a hospital or jail or worse. It would have been better to just let it go. Again we can find direction as to how to handle the situation in words from long ago, “The fool immediately shows his anger, but the shrewd man passes over an insult.” (Prov 12:16)
Lastly, there are even times that we might be angered by a person who had no intention of upsetting us when after properly signaling, they moved into our lane on the highway, but we were having a bad day and this just irrationally made it worse. We might decide to exhibit a little road rage. It is possible to react without thinking and cause great harm or even death to the culprit who upset our apple cart.
But what good will come from that?
Lives will be permanently altered and not just the lives of the involved parties, but also friends and family. The actions we take may have a ripple effect not only throughout our social and familial circle, but also through that of the unintentional aggressor’s circle of influence. One need only turn to the front page of our local newspapers to find cases of family members murdering the family members of someone by whom they felt wronged; then the other family has to retaliate and a vicious cycle has begun. Again we find in the Bible sage words that guide us: “Give up your anger, abandon your wrath; do not be provoked; it brings only harm.” (Ps 37:8).
The best use of anger is as a motivational tool. For instance, in the case of the lost job, we can use the anger to drive us to find a better job and to accomplish more than we had at the old one. Where someone has been verbally abused, we can use our anger to move us to defuse the situation by getting the aggrieved party to ignore the situation, thereby showing that they are the better person.
And in the case of the road rage, we can use the anger as a trigger to do just the opposite of what we would normally be inclined to do. In other words, perhaps instead of reacting negatively, we could be more courteous in the way we drive.Christians everywhere are called to live like Christ and when it comes to anger we must think before we act, remembering that, “The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in love.” (Ps 143:8)
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