By Paschal Chisom Obi
Anger is among the seven capital sins. Archbishop Fulton Sheen calls anger the sin of the mind and as such, countless other deadly and grievous sins spring from it. One of the greatest battles of life is the battle to “put away anger,” and not just controlling it.
Some Christians will not go to heaven, not because they did not do the will of God, but because they died harboring anger, hatred and malice.
Being angry is not a sin, but excessive and unchecked anger is what leads us to sin. Anger can ruin someone's life, destiny, family and generation. It can send one to the valley of tears, psychological suffering, and perpetual regrets. Anger expressed wrongly can take away ones glory, reputation, and smiles. It can bring one down from the ladder of greatness to the floor of condemnation, mockery and shame. Many have lost life time achievements because of anger, many have cursed generations yet unborn because of anger, some teachers has deformed their students out of aggression, anger have separated friends and relatives, destroyed relationships and impeded development. Anger if properly investigated, is the bedrock of some genocides, homicides and suicides.
Anger makes someone blind, deaf and also dumb. It deprives one the sense of reasoning, reduces his maturity and sense of responsibility; to the extent that he or she does not see, hear or say anything good about the offender. This, excessive and uncontrolled anger comes as a result of indiscipline, impatience, pride and greed. Thus, leading the offender and the one offended to depression and disconnection from God. Hence, when a Christian harbours anger and hatred, they destroy the Spirit of God in him or her. St. Paul therefore advised saying, “Do not let your anger exceed the night” (Eph.4:26).
Last year, an incident occurred at a little social gathering of friends; it happened that, I was challenged by a friend, who looked into my eyes and said, “If you are Paschal Obi show them the stuff you are made of.” I was not only moved by this statement, my ego was also touched. But on a second thought, I recalled that power, supremacy and sovereignty were the same tricks the Devil used when he tempted Jesus (Matt.4:8-10). I acted and spoke following the injunction of St. James, “Be quick to hear, but slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20). Most of my friends marvelled at my reaction. Resultantly, I was able to win few souls for Christ at the end of the gathering.
Beloved, our reaction matters a lot when we are provoked. Our actions or inactions can either pacify or aggravate the situation. Hence, do not allow pressure, pleasure, ego or your present condition to lead you into a costly mistake. “Be cautious whenever you are angry, and always make a balance for your words, thoughts and actions- weigh them before you give expression and let them pass twice under the filter of examination, that you may suppress what you should not utter, so that your words, thoughts and actions may be filled with Divine wisdom, holiness and love.”
Dear reader, wine, money or woman is no anti-dote for anger but God is!. Take your aggressions to the Lord in prayer saying, “Lord make me to understand the shortness of my life that I may gain wisdom of heart.” Beloved, our lives are God's gift and as such, is too precious to be wasted living in grudges, quarrel and apathy. Yesterday is already a history. Let by-gone be by-gone. Forgiveness does not make one a weakling; it only shows how strong, kind and wise one is. Proverb.16:32 says, “He who is slow to anger and rules his spirit is stronger than the mighty who captures a city.” Thus, retaliation can never be the best option. For it is only a fool that stirs up his anger (Prov. 29:11, Eccl.7:9). Even if you had been hurt, never avenge yourselves, leave vengeance to the hand of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (Rom.12:19)
Finally, I will end this reflection with a tale that might arouse deep meditation.
A story was told of a big and hot tempered snake which was passing through a carpenter's workshop. The snake’s skin mistakenly touched the sharp edge of the carpenters saw. Out of anger, the snake spat and bit the saw; unknown to the snake that it is a working implement. The saw still remained stationed. The snake grew furious and decided to squeeze the saw. The snake cuddled its body round the sharp edge of the saw, having the intention to squeeze and strangle the saw completely, but this time, the saw tore the snake into pieces.