Remember his strength – Day 22
Control your anger
We probably all know the name of the famous reformer of the 16th century, John Calvin. He was a great and godly man whose influence has stretched over the centuries. However, perhaps few of us know that on one occasion, over the wording of a certain document, Calvin lost his temper completely and uttered the most scathing and bitter words to those present. Calvin blamed himself severely for his conduct and soon repented of it. The event occurred when he was a young man and was not as well known, as he would become in later years. This tendency to anger was a lifelong struggle for John Calvin.
Like him, we all have our faults and anger is probably one of them. Who of us does not know the embarrassment of losing our temper and saying things that we can never take back, and for which we are truly sorry?
It is true, of course, that not all anger is sinful anger. Sometimes, anger is the right response to some sin and injustice. However, not the anger that so consumes us, causes us to lose total control of ourselves and results in several people being hurt because of our inability to govern ourselves.
Knowing our sinful tendency to anger, the apostle Paul wrote, “In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” (Ephesians 4:26)
He was telling us to control ourselves when things that stirred up anger occurred. All disputes should be settled that very same day. Otherwise, it is possible that brooding on the injustice that occurred will lead to increased anger and, before you know it, the devil has gained a foothold, and great conflict and drama has unsettled all relationships.
Sometimes, people’s words or actions can cause great hurt and we may feel justly angered. However, it is far better to take time to reflect before we speak. We should all seek to preserve relationships and not break them.
This calls for good grace and self-control. Is this not how the Lord’s people should behave under all circumstances? We read of Jesus being angry in the New Testament, but on each occasion, it was because of the hard-heartedness of his listeners to God or, sometimes even, to the less fortunate.
If there is an apology to be made, a relationship to heal, a bridge to cross with someone, why not do it right now, before this day ends.