Sometimes anger is like a fire burning within – a little spark sets it off, and if it is not immediately put out, it can become a dangerous raging wildfire before we know it. Having been born with “red hair and a temper to match”, I have often wished that there was some sort of fire extinguisher for anger. Then one day, I realized that there was!
As with many things in the Christian life, the power of the “anger extinguisher” begins with prayer. As you feel the flame bursting within and the angry words rise to your tongue, stop and pray. The Bible tells us to pray at all times. Paul writes in Ephesians 6:18a “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests,” and also in I Thessalonians 5:17 “pray continually;”
We are told in Ephesians 4:2 to “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” The power of the “anger extinguisher” grows when we learn to be humble, to beat down our own pride and forget our perceived “hurts”. And the power of the “anger extinguisher” to put out anger grows even more when we learn to love those around us, as Christ loved us.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” [I Corinthians 13:13]
A prayer that I pray often is that the Lord would help me to see others through His eyes. My own eyes are tainted by sin, stained by my own “self-righteousness”, colored by my thoughts and assumptions, bound by man’s tendency to look at the “outward appearance”, and too often so smudged with my own self-centeredness and self focus that it’s a wonder I can see at all. When I look at others, I want to see them as He sees them – to love them unconditionally as He loves us. This is my prayer – and I must pray it often for I fail far more often then not.
When we run up against a “difficult” person or when someone is giving us a hard time, if only we would “remove” ourselves from the heat of the moment, “step back” and remind ourselves that Christ loves this person, that He died for them as well as for us, and then ask ourselves: can we do any less than love what He loves?
“May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.” [I Thessalonians 3:12]
~ A Servant of the King