Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Armed with Love: Anger

"Love is not easily angered," I Corinthians 13:5.
Anger is an emotion that is hard to control. Yet God's word teaches us that anger needs to be under our control.Proverbs 29:11 says, "A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control." My friend Teresa told our Bible study group about a recent experience she had at a local department store that tested her ability to keep herself under control. Teresa received a excellent coupon from a local department store. She knew a shopping trip was in order. After selecting her items she proceeded to the check out line. She was surprised to find no one in line and proceeded to the register. As she was checking out two women arrived in line behind her and began making bad comments about Teresa accusing her of cutting in line. Teresa began to feel her face get red and her emotions rise. She noticed an open register. Teresa turned to the women and said, "I didn't cut in line, but there is an open register right over there." As they proceed to the register the Drama Queens continued to complain loudly about Teresa. She wanted to give the women a few choice words of her own, but she kept herself under control. When the cashier finished ringing up the items Teresa handed her the coupon. The cashier scanned the coupon and gave it back to her saying, "You should hang on to this coupon. It is good for a few more days." Almost without thinking about it Teresa turned and handed the loud-mouthed, complaining women her amazing coupon. Dumbfounded, one of them responded,"Thank you." When Teresa settled in the seat of her car she thanked God for allowing her to keep her cool. She knew it was only by God's help she did not become a Drama Queen.
Drama Queens. We all know one, live with one, maybe we are one. Drama Queens are not easy to live with. They make mountains out of mole hills. They make little problems into big problems. They turn small disagreements into major fights. They seem to enjoy the craziness that swallows up their lives. Drama Queens do not have control of their emotions. When a wife or mom is a Drama Queen, it makes for a home built on very shaky ground. Her family is never sure where they stand. They are always afraid of the next eruption of emotion. Sometimes her family finds it difficult to be honest because they know what the reaction will be. They hide things for fear of causing chaos to storm. I do not want to be a Drama Queen. I want peace to reign in my home. I must maintain control of my emotions.
I Corinthians 13 says that when we love those around us we are not easily angered. This verse does not make anger a sin. In fact, God has been known to be angry at times. Even Jesus was angry in the temple when it was being misused as a market place. Anger is not wrong. Not being in control of one's anger is. Drama Queens do not control their anger. In fact, they use their anger as a weapon against the people they claim to love. When we are quick to become angry we are putting ourselves and our feelings above those around us. James 1:19-20 gives us some insight on how we should be. It says, "My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires." This verse says we should listen first, speak second, and take our time becoming angry. By being a good listener we can show love to the speaker. If we listen first it gives us an opportunity to understand and sympathize with the speaker. Then we can make a more reasonable response. It doesn't always mean I won't be angry, but it does mean I will be pursuing a righteous life.
I don't want to be a Drama Queen. I want my family to feel free to share their joys and sorrows knowing I will listen without jumping into a volcano of emotions. By listening I will love them better.