Reflections II

Not My Own Work

"As a face reflects in water, so the heart reflects the real person."

--Proverbs 27:19

"Amor Vincit Omnia

Love Conquers All."

--Ancient Roman Love verse

"Take care of the minutes, and the hours will take care of themselves."

--Lord Chesterfield

"In order to really love someone, you must love him as though he was going to die tomorrow."

--Arabian Proverb

"Be who you are and say what you feel, for those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."

--Dr. Seuss

"Kindness in words creates confidence, kindness in thinking creates profoundness, kindness in giving creates love."


What lies behind us, and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

~ by Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

How Do We Handle Anger

We often use anger to create space. We might call it the porcupine effect. When attacked, the porcupine will curl up into a ball and show the barbs it has for protection. It knows that if its enemies can get to the soft underbelly it is defenseless. Often in anger we will use sharp sarcasm or sharp short answers to create distance, so that others will not get too close and see our weaknesses. This is based on the insecurity and fear that if people get to know us they will not like us.

One of the things we need to do is to learn to be slow to anger. We need to take the time to be sure that we have a good reason to be angry. Patience is one of the things needed to overcome anger. It is not a drowsy indifference we seek. It will not do to just throw a blanket on our situation and merely say, "everything is all right, I am not going to get angry." Love, Scripturally speaking, is not an easy-going indifference. We need to listen and ask questions to be sure we understood what was said, to get the facts straight. Then, unless a principle is involved, we need to give the other party the benefit of the doubt.

A second thing we can do is change our thinking. We cannot change our feelings, but we can change our thinking. This new pattern of thought, rather than getting angry, looks within self to see what is producing the anger. This new pattern of thinking will help us to control our anger.

The power of the things in this world are only temporary. Christ could go to the cross and be crucified because he realized that that was only a temporary condition. The rebukes, the put-downs, the disappointments we have are only temporary.

Be Angry and Sin Not

"Be ye angry, and sin not. Let not the sun go down upon your wrath, neither give place to the devil" (Ephesians 4:26, 27). We need to learn to be "swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath" (James 1:19). There is a reason God gave us two ears and just one mouth. Too often we are not good listeners and too quick to speak, too ready to get angry.

Yet in Ephesians we are told that we are supposed to be angry. Anger, in itself, is neither right nor wrong, neither constructive nor destructive, until there is a motive that goes along with it. If anger is wrong, God has sinned; and that is not possible. We are told on many occasions that God was angry. Jesus showed anger with the Pharisees. It is all right to be angry. It is the motivation we use. If it is harmful to ourselves or others, the anger is not right. The spirit which flushes with resentment at an oath is better by far than the spirit which listens with indifference, or which laughs with pleasure. We are far better off if our anger is motivated by love.

Once our anger is motivated by love it also needs to be constrained by love. Love can motivate anger, but if it does not also constrain it, the anger can still get out of control.

The second thing that our text in Ephesians tells us is to "sin not." We sin by letting our anger get out of control. Paul continues by telling us "let not the sun go down upon your wrath." In other words we are not to harbor our anger. We must repent, be quick to examine it, and not harbor it.

Finally, Paul concludes, "neither give place to the devil." If the devil can get us to the place where we are harboring our anger, with emotions welling up inside us which rot our inner being, then he has us in a position where we cut back on our prayer life and become insensitive.

We are not even to teach our children never to be angry but we are to teach them how to "be angry and sin not."

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