Lost Your Temper? Good! by Patty LaRoche

Patty LaRoche. 2023.
Author: A Little Faith Lift…Finding Joy Beyond Rejection
AWSA (Advanced Writers & Speakers Assoc.)

“Anger is never without a reason, but seldom with a good one.” Benjamin Franklin

When my friend’s daughter, Erin, was three years old, she threw a temper tantrum in a California mall.  While the embarrassed mother begged her to stop, a well-dressed woman walked up to my friend and whispered, “Play along.”  She approached the toddler and said, “Little girl, you come home with me.  Tell your Mommy good-bye.  Let’s go.”  You can guess what happened next.  Erin stopped crying, jumped up and ran into her mother’s arms.

Since the beginning of time, tempers have flared.  From Genesis to Revelation, there are stories of those who could not contain their anger. Let me rephrase that.  They “could” have; they “chose” not to. This behavior plays out in every arena, from wars to sporting events to political debates to the workplace to freeways to abusive homes to churches.  At the root of it?  Selfishness.  My way or my way.  Choose anything else, and you will pay.

On Instagram last week, I posted something I read on line: “Losing your temper is no way of getting rid of it.”  My daughter-in-law, Jenn, and her husband, Adam, recently celebrated their 22nd wedding anniversary.  She told me that Adam never had raised his voice at her. Dave and I tried to recall a time when Adam had lost his temper.  We couldn’t. (Like mother, like son.)   I wish!                                                                                                                                     Ephesians 4:31 brings us Paul’s writing about how to deal with anger:  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  No exceptions.  No matter how much your therapist advises you to “get it all out.”  No matter the injustice done to you.  No matter how much better you feel afterwards.  We are to “put away” those temptations, not in a drawer where we can pull them out whenever something provokes us or reminds us of how we were treated, but locked up and buried.

When our son Andy was nine years old and was catching in a Little League game in Texas, the batter hit a home run.  As he crossed the plate, Andy stuck out his foot and tripped the runner. He face-planted in the dirt.  Had Andy’s coach not gotten to my son first, I was prepared to jump the fence and do the disciplinary deed.  Coach took him by the back of his neck and marched him over to the opposing team’s dugout and made him apologize.

Where did that behavior come from?  Neither Dave nor I had instilled in our kids the “win at all cost” attitude. In F.B. Meyer’s sermon “Tempers, and What to Do with Them,” he addresses five kinds of tempers: “The hot temper, which flashes out with the least provocation. The sullen temper, which is a great deal worse to deal with, because it takes so long to come round. The jealous temper, which, in trying to keep all for itself, loses all. The suspicious temper, which is always imputing the worst motives. The malicious temper, which loves to instill the drop of poison, or make the almost imperceptible stab with its stiletto.”  Do any of those describe you?

The good news is that we Christians can muffle our anger. If we immediately recognize it as sin and rely on the Holy Spirit to help us control it, we have at our disposal help from the Prince of Peace who offers us victory over our sin.

All we have to do is ask.


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