05/29/04 — Hold your temper: Let anger take over and ... heaven knows

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Hold your temper: Let anger take over and ... heaven knows

Don’t get mad if this hits home. Of all the deadly sins, perhaps the deadliest is anger.

Yet, it is a sin that we commit every day.

Something in our make-up causes our brows to furrow, our ears to redden, our adrenaline to race and our minds to go bonkers when we think someone has wronged us. We are prone to reaction without reason.

It is the reaction that makes it a deadly sin.

The seven deadly sins — anger, pride, envy, gluttony, lust, greed and sloth — are sins that lead us to other sin. They are called deadly because some believe they are fatal to our spirituality.

Anger, for example, can lead to sin as great as murder, or even war. It can lead to a lot of everyday things, as well, and those are things that, every day, we have to guard against.

The passion of anger can destroy relationships. People often say things in anger that are almost impossible to forget.

It can cause perverted judgment of what is good and evil. It can cause road rage, or all manner of poor decisions at work, at home, at church or even in play. How many golf clubs have been pitched into ponds?

Anger can cause heart attacks, headaches and hypertension.

But the key to good health — physical, spiritual and emotional — can be found by comparing the vice with its opposing virtues. The opposite of anger might be love, patience or kindness. So, we can summon love, patience and kindness to help us overcome anger.

This can take great effort, because some people are just downright irritating. But, the Instruction Book of Life tells us time and again that we are to conquer anger.

“Cease from anger ....” it says in Psalm 37.

“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty,” says Proverbs 16:32.

And Ecclesiastes 7:9: “Do not hasten in your spirit to anger, for anger rests in the bosom of fools.”

Published in Editorials on May 29, 2004 11:34 PM