Angry Words, O Let Them Never
The song is sometimes called “Love One Another.” The words are from a poem whose author is unknown. You can probably sing this hymn from memory. The message’s origin is from the teaching of Jesus: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
I was leaving work one evening, exiting the shop through the gate. I came around the corner and right there was a big truck hauling brush in front of me. I turned the vehicle hard to the right and hoped for the best. Lucky for me, there was no collision. As I sat there looking in the rear view mirror at the man driving the truck, my blood boiled. Why did he drive into me that way? Not only was he speeding, he was in the middle of the road! I was furious! I saw his phone number on the side of the truck. I called him, and we had words. I said what was on my mind, and he did the same. Afterward I felt horrible. I paused and asked myself, “God, why am I so angry?” Was it what the man said or the fact that I almost had a head-on collision? Probably both. Could it have been handled better? Of course. So why did I go off? Why am I so angry?
Angry words! O let them never, From the tongue unbridled slip,
May the heart’s best impulse ever, Check them ere they soil the lip.
I am sure at the moment of the “almost” accident that I was not thinking about eternal things or my shortcomings. But later on, I came to the conclusion that anger is a symptom of a more serious problem, which can lead to all kinds of sin. It can be so overwhelming, that professional help may be in order for some.
“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.” James 4:1-2 This scripture speaks about quarrels and covetousness which produce anger. We need to keep our mind on heavenly things. The world and its pleasures fade quickly and are not meant to last. Everlasting eternal things are where our minds must dwell.
Love one another thus saith the Savior, Children obey the Father’s blest command, Love each other, love each other, ’Tis the Father’s blest command.
This subject is hard to deal with, but I think we need to take a long look at anger, what makes us angry, and realize that it’s sinful and shameful to behave the way we sometimes do. We get angry at work and take it home with us, taking it out on children or wives or husbands. Some of us hold on to anger and let it fester until it explodes. “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil” Ephesians 4:26-27 And it is contrary to how Jesus lived: “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.” 1 Peter 2:23
I am not sure if you noticed, but there are many people upset about the Presidential election this year. Anger and hate were a big part of the campaign on both sides. It was hard for me to watch, but now it seems like the losing side is not handling it very well. I observe this and conclude: the people who are still angry to the point of violent behavior are a pitiful group. By that I mean they do not know God. If they did, they would not be acting the way they are and doing what they are doing. After the last election four years ago, I personally was not happy with the result, but I did not burn the flag or riot in the street. I knew the Lord was in control, and that gave me peace. Anger and hate are not from God.
Love is much too pure and holy, Friendship is too sacred far,
For a moment’s reckless folly, Thus to desolate and mar.
“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” Romans 12:18 I know if these troubled souls had God in their life, they would have the ability to let it go and not be destructive because things did not go the way they wanted. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Matthew 5:9 They are making fools of themselves and in my opinion, nothing good will come from what they are doing. “Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the bosom of fools.” Ecclesiastes 7:9 “Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end.” Proverbs 29:11 I love that last scripture; it’s simple and precise.
Going back to my story at the beginning… as I pulled away from my near wreck, I was upset at myself for losing my self-control. I felt horrible about what had happened. I asked God for help. About an hour later I looked at my phone, and there was a missed call. It was the man who I had words with. I called him back, and he immediately apologized to me for what happened. I quickly did the same. We talked for a bit and then laughed together about how silly we had acted, and at the end he said, “God bless you sir.” And I said, “Thanks and God bless you. Next time I see you, I will wave and say hello!” God heard my prayer, and I would guess that the man had prayed too. Then God did the rest. I have not seen that man since our near miss, but I do look for his truck, in hopes that I can wave to my new friend.