An angry man stirs up disputes, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins.
When you lose our temper and let someone “have it,” what are you hoping to accomplish? Teach them a lesson and improve their behavior? Sounds noble, but no one’s buying it. Let’s not fool ourselves: anger seldom motivates other people to be better people. It increases hostility in those who feel our heat.
In our honest moments, we know better. When we lose our temper, we want to hurt somebody. We don’t call it a “tongue lashing” for nothing.
A hot temper stirs up anger in others. We’re starting a forest fire. But do you realize what your anger does to you in the process of hurting others?
In 1940, Doulas Thompson, a Tennessee paper boy, was delivering papers when a neighborhood dog attacked and bit him. Thompson had the dog impounded, and it was later released in a few days.
But the dog’s owner, Gertrude Jamieson, was outraged that her dog was impounded. She began harassing Douglas with obscene phone calls several times a day. She continued her hateful phone calls for forty three years! The harassing calls ended in 1983 when Gertrude was 85 – not because see finally let go of her anger, but because she suffered a debilitating stroke. Oh yes, she made Douglas Thompson pay for his “crime.” But she destroyed herself by nursing her smoldering anger.
When a bee plants its stinger into your flesh it introduces you to a lot of pain. But, once a bee loses its stinger, it dies. We cannot unleash malice on someone without destroying ourselves in the process.
Margaret Tiffle, a 62-year old woman from suburban Paris, would get upset when others would part in the “No Parking” zone in front of her house. So, when she found this fancy Citron parked in her front yard, she lost it. Furious, she got a stiff wire brush and mercilessly scratched up the paint job on the new car.
Margaret’s husband came home and was inconsolable. For their 40th wedding anniversary he had bought her a new car. . . but someone had already vandalized it!
Anger flares because there is fuel. And you cannot escape the fuel. You will always have others who tailgate you, and scratch your CDs, and lock the keys in the house.
I live in the Rockies where huge tracts of dry timber ignite into forest fires. You can’t eliminate all the fuel of dead timber, but last year, there were virtually no fires. Know why? Rain. Lots and lots of rain.
The fuel for anger will always be there. But the Lord wants to drench your life with his love. Fuel doesn’t burn when it’s soggy with grace.
(text by Marty Kaarre)