This month in my “Year of Charity,” I have been studying “Charity is not easily provoked.”
Do you ever feel like when you’re looking for specific answers, God puts things in your path? I have felt that way a couple of times this month as I have been pondering anger. There is a certain person in my life whom I love very much, but for many years, she has been someone who seems to always be able to “make” me angry. Sometimes I feel like she purposefully provokes me, and I often find myself frustrated and angry with her. But since charity is not easily provoked, I know that this is not the right way to respond to this person. This is not the right way to respond to anybody, especially if I am trying to have more love in my heart.
I was recently thinking about this person, and at the same time, I was doing some reading and I came across this amazing (and very personal to me) quote from Stephen R. Covey: “When someone feels he has been unjustly dealt with by an emotionally or socially significant person, it is very easy for him to become preoccupied with the injustice and make the other person the center of his life.”
Covey calls this “enemy centering,” where we put our anger at another person at the center of our lives. Here was the answer I needed to read. I was letting my anger for this person become the center of my life. My thoughts have been centered on this one person–enemy centered–instead of being centered on Jesus Christ. And my anger was starting to affect other areas of my life.
I think that when we become angry, we offend the Spirit of the Lord and take bitterness into our hearts. When we are faced with something that might make us angry, instead of asking “What is fair?” or “How can I get even?” we should ask, “What would Jesus do?” or “How can I better love this person?” I think Jesus would want us to always choose love, forgiveness, and meekness over anger.
I have heard that anger is always a secondary emotion, meaning that we get angry because we are hurt, discouraged, frustrated, lonely, or misunderstood. That is why love is crucial to our interactions with others. If we can love others enough to see through our own pain, we can get to a place where nothing will make us angry, only more compassionate.