This would make a great soap opera title, don’t you think? All those lovely “works of the flesh” are highlighted and dramatized so keenly in soap operas.
One such work of the flesh, as outlined in Galations 5:19-21, is outbursts of fury. Throw in a little pride and you have an Emmy winning episode!
Anger can be a funny thing.
Righteous anger is not sinful but expresses our discontent with injustice, malice, and those sinful acts that anger God. However, when anger is driven by passions, it can easily lead to sin.
Take abortion, for example. I am easily angered by the evil that is abortion, but if that grows into my desire for revenge on the abortionist or for harm to come to those who advocate for it, my anger is no longer righteous.
Most anger I experience is not what I would term “righteous anger.”
I have had to learn to temper myself, be slow to judgment, and not allow feelings to spiral into anger that grow into bitterness and resentment. When I have allowed anger to rule my thoughts, I have very little latitude to offer to those I felt were offending me. A happy, nice person to be around, this did not make!
The most practical solution that has worked for me has been my devotion to St. Therese of Lisieux and her “Little Way”. She teaches:
“Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.”
If I respond out of love to any situation, my heart and mind are opened to the possible scenarios that are ruling others’ thoughts and actions. I am able to realize that their words or actions toward me are not necessarily meant for harm. This leaves me with the opportunity to respond with kindness or to let a supposed offense pass me by without the resulting negativity that would have otherwise ruled my day.
While soap operas are not a good measure with which to compare one’s life–in fact, they may be a good thing give up for Lent–they do show us very clearly how unchecked emotions (like anger) can create unnecessary drama in our lives.