Anger falls one letter short of danger. If you lose your head, how can you expect to use it?
Jesus may not have known that anger cause ulcers, high blood pressure, depression and even a susceptibility to cancer, but He did know that anger destroys relationships and is unhealthy for our mind and spirit. It's hard to keep hating someone, resenting someone or despising someone without it taking a toll on us. It's like a little boy who was sitting on a park bench in obvious agony.
A man asked: "What's wrong?"
The boy answered: "I'm sitting on a bumble bee."
"Then why don't you get up?"
"Because I figure I'm hurting him more than he's hurting me!"
Those who nurse and rehearse their hurts, hurt only themselves. Dr. Redford Williams of Duke University Medical School wrote: "Anger kills. The angrier people are and the more cynical they are, the shorter their life span."
And researchers from the University of Wisconsin discovered that there is a higher rate of artery disease in people who quickly fly off the handle and harbor negative feelings towards others. Let's face it, people constantly blowing fuses are generally left in the dark. They do not understand that grudge-holders are grave-diggers and that the only graves they dig are their own.
Therefore, the best thing that we can do for our hearts is to learn to forgive. Jesus counsels us to, "Forgive a person 70 times seven times" (Matt. 18:22) and, "if a person sins against you, go to that person who wronged you with the spirit of reconciliation and put life back on its feet" (Matt. 18:15).
Jesus wants us to take hostility out of life by going to another person to fix the problem not to fix the blame. Jesus knew that when we despise others, we stand over them, but never stand beside them.
Therefore, the question is never: "Who started it," or "Who's right?" but how can we repair the relationship? If Jesus was concerned with fixing the blame, He never would have gone to the cross would He?
One of the Bible's key phrases is: "As I dealt with you." God's way should shape our way with others. The forgiven should become the forgiving.
You'll never get to the top if you keep blowing yours. Therefore, do yourself, your heart, your health and your neighbors a favor: keep your temper nobody else wants it!
Roger Lemke is pastor at Fishers of Men Lutheran Church, 10360 Stringfellow Road, on Pine Island.