Cease from Anger (Part 2)

https://www.lds.org/media-library/images/woman-taken-in-adultery-948964?lang=eng
Angry men attempting to stone a woman taken in adultery (John 8:1–11.)

Not long ago, some odd tidings came my way at work. I was so upset, I jumped out of my chair and took a brisk walk in no particular direction. Fortunately, a coworker’s sense of humor snapped me out of it and helped me set my feelings aside. Then a few days later, I learned from another coworker that my assumption—an assumption that led to consumption by anger—was completely off. What I thought happened, didn’t really happen.

I find that when I get angry, it’s often tied to missing or incomplete information. (This is a continuation of a recent post on anger, by the way.)

So what happened to me that day at work? In a gap of misunderstanding, I allowed the universal sin—pride—to knock me off balance and that led to anger—a pretty wasteful emotion when it’s based on an entirely incorrect idea.

Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom. (Proverbs 13:10.)

I can’t dodge anger. I can’t get rid of it. It’s going to tag along with me for the rest of mortality. Asking for total relief from anger is like asking for complete release from temptation. Not going to happen in this life. It’s part of a package deal.

Understanding this deal, consider the source of the spirit of contention. It doesn’t come from God.

For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another. (3 Nephi 11:29; emphasis added.)

We didn’t invite Satan and his recruits to join our party, but God did. Yes, Lucifer is here by permission. He is the unwitting servant of God. By design, it’s up to us to uninvite the devil from our party. It’s are choice. And it takes a bit of work.

We don’t have to lie down and roll over. We can resist Satan and the spirits that follow him. In fact, we have a promise in this regard.

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7; emphasis added.)

The problem is, we don’t resist. A taste of anger is a temptation, and I believe God wants us to resist it and to control it. But too often, we enjoy the anger and enjoy expressing it. We would deny it, but that hot shot of adrenaline can be quite enjoyable. We like to be right or a suffering victim, which is kindling for the fire. But we have this command from holy scripture, which I repeat here.

Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil (Psalms 37:8; emphasis added).

Let me wrap this up. It takes years of practice, but it’s worth the fight. Anger is one of those emotions that can get out of control pretty quickly. We can’t avoid it. It’s part of us that needs to be confronted and controlled. It’s fueled by pride and deception, often in the form of misinformation. We can resist it, like any other temptation. In fact, we are charged by holy writ to do just that.

 

The Humility of King Hussein

I recently read a story about King Hussein bin Talal of Jordan who showed great humility after what was known as the Island  of Peace massacre in 1997.

A group of 80 Israeli schoolgirls from Beit Shemesh, 20 miles west of Jerusalem, were on a field trip to the Jordan Valley and were visiting the Island of Peace park on Thursday, March 13, which was under Jordanian rule.

A Jordanian border guard opened fire on the girls, killing 7 and wounding 5 or 6 others, including a teacher. The border guard was subdued by other Jordanian soldiers on the scene. The girls who were killed were only 13 and 14 years old.

The following Sunday, March 16, King Hussein flew to Israel and visited the homes of each of the victims, who were in mourning (shiva). He reportedly knelt before the parents, begging their pardon and asking forgiveness. Among other things he said, “I feel as if I have lost a child of my own. If there is any purpose in life it will be to make sure that all the children no longer suffer the way our generation did.”

This act of deep humility was remarkable and well received by the victims’ families. Some mocked him, but it as an incredibly wise, courageous, and timely act. It seems to have avoided more open conflict between the countries.

Recently, as I have struggled with conflict, the Lord has whispered this instruction in my ear, “Be humble. You will win by humility.” I believe those words whole-heartedly. King Hussein was a living example of them.