Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but one who has a hasty temper exalts folly. (Proverbs 14:29)
One day I was behind someone in the grocery store who was yelling at the cashier. I didn’t get the entire conversation, but it had something to do with the guy’s credit card not working. It wasn’t something the cashier could do anything about, but that didn’t stop the guy from belittling the woman who didn’t deserve his filthy mouth. I thought of confronting him, but knew it would only keep him around longer, so I just apologized to her on his behalf, loud enough for him to hear.
I can only imagine the negative stuff going on in his life that caused him to drip his venom all over the cashier and the rest of the store. In his irrational rage he diminished himself more than the person he attempted to belittle. Most of us have lost our temper and spewed our misplaced anger in the wrong direction more than once. That isn’t an excuse, but a call to action.
The way to move beyond the rage, is to stop, breathe, and then remember who we are. We are a child of God and not an animal. We have the ability to control our emotions. Rage is controlled when we remind ourselves of all we are grateful for in life. Rage occurs when we lose sight of all that is good and focus entirely on the negative moment. The slightest recall of gratitude can shake us back to the reality of who we are and the blessings we have in life.
Today, pray for the patience to control the occasional rage. Then, pray for those who must put up with other people’s negativity every day. Finally, pray for the Holy Spirit to cool the anger with a shot of gratitude. Recognizing the cruelty and stupidity in taking out one’s rage on an innocent person should be enough of a reminder that we do not ever want to look and act that outrageous. The more self-aware we become, the better we are at controlling our negative emotions. Then we can reflect the divine love God calls us to project each day.