Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 9, 1999

Harold Keller / L’Observateur / June 9, 1999

Who among us has not been guilty of getting into deep trouble because of anger? The Webster’s dictionary describes anger as wrath, strong emotion including a sense of injury and a desire to retaliate.

The New Living Translation of the Touch Point Bible illustrates anger as follows: A fire burns and consumes. It is called anger – smoldering,flaming, at times white-hot. Anger is passion. Of all emotions, it maywell be the most passionate, for it has the power to fuel hatred and smother love. Anger itself is not bad, it is not wrong. God himself getsangry. What we need to look at is the object of our anger, our motive foranger, and the outcome of our anger. Anger that is self-righteous, protectsour pride, is self-centered, or demands its own way is dangerous. Ifallowed to continue unchecked, it consumes us. This kind of anger seeksharm and revenge, it seeks to destroy. Thus, it can lead to bitterness andhatred, emotions that can cause violent behavior and obliterate compassion and forgiveness.

God’s anger, however, is directed against sin and unrighteousness.

Anger is a normal emotion. The anger is not the sin – it’s what we do withthe emotion (our reaction). Anger, not controlled, is always destructive.My friend, Tommy Millet with Financial Strategies Group Inc. fromLutcher, often sends me information that I might use in my ministry. Lastweek, he gave me the following by Jeff Herring, a licensed marriage and family therapist from Tallahassee, Fla. Please allow me to pass it on.

“The Fence” “There was a little boy with a bad temper. His father gave him a bag ofnails and told him that every time he lost his temper, to hammer a nail in the back fence.

The first day, the boy drove 37 nails into the fence. Then it graduallydwindled. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drivenails into the fence.

Finally, the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He toldhis father about it, and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed, andthe young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.

The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, “Youhave done well, my son, and I am proud of you. Now, look at the holes in thefence. It will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave ascar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. Itwon’t matter how many times you say, ‘I’m sorry.’ The wound is stillthere.”

Harold Keller is a regular columnist for L’Observateur

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