Thus says the Lord:
When Israel was a child I loved him,
and I called my son out of Egypt.
But the more I called to them, the further they went from me;
they have offered sacrifice to the Baals
and set their offerings smoking before the idols.
I myself taught Ephraim to walk,
I took them in my arms;
yet they have not understood that I was the one looking after them.
I led them with reins of kindness,
with leading-strings of love.
I was like someone who lifts an infant close against his cheek;
stooping down to him I gave him his food.
Ephraim, how could I part with you?
Israel, how could I give you up?
How could I treat you like Admah,
or deal with you like Zeboiim?
My heart recoils from it,
my whole being trembles at the thought.
I will not give rein to my fierce anger,
I will not destroy Ephraim again,
for I am God, not man:
I am the Holy One in your midst
and have no wish to destroy.
Jesus instructed the Twelve as follows: ‘As you go, proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is close at hand. Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils. You received without charge, give without charge. Provide yourselves with no gold or silver, not even with a few coppers for your purses, with no haversack for the journey or spare tunic or footwear or a staff, for the workman deserves his keep.
‘Whatever town or village you go into, ask for someone trustworthy and stay with him until you leave. As you enter his house, salute it, and if the house deserves it, let your peace descend upon it; if it does not, let your peace come back to you. And if anyone does not welcome you or listen to what you have to say, as you walk out of the house or town shake the dust from your feet. I tell you solemnly, on the day of Judgement it will not go as hard with the land of Sodom and Gomorrah as with that town.’
I will not give rein to my fierce anger, I will not destroy Ephraim again, for I am God, not man: I am the Holy One in your midst, and have no wish to destroy
I have a terrible temper, I will own up to that, and my family will attest to that. When I was younger, I had no idea how to rein it in. Now that I am much older, I hope that I have learnt more patience. I know I have, ever since discovering God. But every now and then, it rears its ugly head and in the heat of anger, I sometimes say or do things that I regret. It scares me how easily I can give in to my anger sometimes’ because more often than not, it is my loved ones that bear the brunt of it. It is destructive for me as well, and for the relationships that I have with my husband and family, and with God. Of late, I have taken to praying fervently each time I feel as though I am getting upset. I pray that it doesn’t boil over. I pray for strength and patience, for God to help guide my heart and guard my mouth.
I’m not perfect, but I don’t believe I’m a bad person either. Yes, I have a temper as I suppose do most of us. But that doesn’t mean that we are bad people. There are plenty of people in the Bible who displayed moments of anger: Jesus was so angry that God’s temple had been used as a ‘market place’ and overturned the tables of the money changers (Matthew 21:12). Moses was enraged at the people for creating and worshipping a golden calf right after God brought them out of Egypt that he smashed the two tablets containing the Ten Commandments. And this was after he implored with God not to be angry at the people and stay His hand (Exodus 32:7-14). The point is that we should take a leaf out of the Bible and follow God’s example when we get upset.
When we are angry, we should not let it consume us. Don’t keep the bitterness in our heart and let it stew. If it still nags at us, try to reconcile with the other person if possible. If we are angry, and we allow ourselves to keep being angry, then we also allow the Devil to take advantage of our anger and sin in our anger (Ephesians 4:26-27). When two sparks come together, it can only create a fire which, if not checked, will spread and destroy everything in its path.
“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in loving kindness” says Psalm 103:8. Let us too then be compassionate and slow to anger. Let us be more forgiving, and also sometimes be the first ones to seek forgiveness. If our hearts sincerely seek a peaceful resolution, we may surprise ourselves that that is what the other party is looking for too.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Annette Soo)
Prayer: Lord, when I am angry and am unable to control myself, please help me to curb my anger lest I may say or do things that I regret. Let the Holy Spirit be upon me that I may be soothed. Help me to control it so that it doesn’t flare up into something bigger than I can manage oh Lord. I pray that in my anger, no one will be hurt.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for the times when you stayed my hand and guarded my tongue so that I would not do anything that would sin against you. I pray for Your mercy and forgiveness for the times when I let my anger overwhelm me. Help me Lord not to sin again.