19th November 2011

Anger Tempered

“So he made a whip out of cords and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables.”
John 2:15 (NIV)

Anger is one of the hardest problems for our world to master. It is also a challenge for each of us in our own personal lives. 

Jesus’ own example shows that to act in anger can be legitimate. “How dare you turn my Father’s House into a market!” he declared in John 2:16.  In contrast, we see Jesus rebuke Simon Peter for striking the high priest’s servant with a sword (John 18:10-11).  As Jesus explained to Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews.” (John 18:36). 

Anger happens. The key to mastering this emotion is how we act on it. Temper is an interesting word. One use would indicate an outburst of anger. However, the same word can be used to mean “to soften or tone down”. We need to learn to temper our anger. 

The Apostle Paul’s advice to Christians was, “In your anger, do not sin” (Ephesians 4:26).  However, surely we must all confess that this is easier said than done!  How do we temper anger?  “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every kind of malice.” (Ephesians 4:31). If our outlet of anger dwells in hate, cruelty and animosity then we most certainly have not tempered our anger.  Instead if our anger is based within kindness and compassion (Ephesians 4:32), then surely our anger will have a good effect. 

This doesn’t make it easy.  But we know that our Lord is always with us – and he will engage with us to help temper our strong emotions. 

Please, Holy Father, show us how we can temper anger for good. We ask this in Jesus Christ’s Holy Name.  Thank you.

Study by John Merchant 

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