St. Columba

A Lesson for today from Saint Columba

Do Not Let The Sun Go Down On Your Anger

There are many Christians who argue that it is wrong to get angry. It isn't. There are certain things that make God angry and so, as we were made in God's image, anger is part of our emotional make-up. What the Bible teaches is that we should be slow to anger: patience, gentleness and self control are all part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Then, when we do feel our anger rising, we are to ensure that our anger does not lead us into sin. Anger is a powerful emotion and, as such, it can lead to great change or tremendous destruction.

We've already seen how Columba's anger led to great destruction, but how can anger be used to effect good? When Jesus saw the state of the Temple and how the priests, the guardian of Israel's religion, had turned God's prayer-house into a market, He was angry. It's difficult to imagine Jesus, who ministered to children and spoke tenderly to those who were cast-out from society, becoming angry, but He was. What Jesus did not do however, was sin in His anger. The Bible tells us that Jesus never sinned, and so how did He handle His anger? By going to one side and calmly planning what He would do. Slowly He plaited a whip and then He drove out the money-changers and overturned their tables, telling them exactly what He was doing and why. His Father's house would be a house of prayer, not a den of thieves. Jesus' anger caused Him to act and resolve the situation and, although He acted in anger, He never lost His temper.

Someone sent me an E-Mail a while ago which told of a small boy with an uncontrollable temper. In an attempt to remedy the situation his father gave him a hammer and some nails. Every time he felt his temper rising the boy was to hammer a nail into the fence. The boy did as he was told, sometimes hammering 10 or 20 nails a day into the fence. Gradually the therapy worked and one day the boy proudly told his dad that he had not hammered a single nail into the fence that day. "Well", said the father, "seeing as you have kept your temper today, you can pull one nail out, and every day you keep your temper you can pull one nail out."

A long time passed and eventually the boy pulled every nail out of the fence and proudly went and told his dad.

"Well done son," the father said, "but just look at all those holes: the fence is ruined." Every time we loose our temper and let our anger off the hook, we leave a hole: a wound in someone else's life, and one in our own. The Fence represents the damage we cause if we don't learn to keep our tempers in control.

Please read:
Exodus 4: 13-14
Ephesians 4:26
Proverbs 15:1, 29:11, 25:28, 30:33

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