Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"Do Not Anger Again"

Nephi’s Psalm found in 2 Ne 4:29-35, begins with a lament over Nephi’s failings and shortcomings. Nephi knows so much, has seen angels, seen visions, been taught by the Lord and yet he still makes mistakes. Obviously this is bothering him, but the Psalm ends with a command to himself: “Do not anger again because of mine enemies.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about anger lately and how it disrupts our lives. The dictionary defines anger as, “a strong feeling of displeasure and usually of antagonism.” This displeasure can range from mild irritation to rage, but it is all anger and is harmful. What the definition doesn’t begin to capture is the damage anger can do to relationships or our health and happiness. Recent studies show that besides causing stress anger can trigger heart attacks and death!

The more I pondered on this the more I realized that if we want to overcome anger in our lives we need to understand what causes the displeasure and antagonism. Surprisingly, the answer to that is simple. Anger occurs when something violates our conviction of what should be. When people think someone should be home at a certain time and they don’t show up, the person gets angry. When a driver cuts in front of a person and the person thinks the driver shouldn’t, they get angry. The list could go on, but anytime we think something should or should not be the way it is, it generates anger. The important thing to realize is we don’t have to become angry. Because we have agency, we can choose to accept what has happened without thinking it shouldn’t have happened. Thus we avoid anger. If we’ve been in the habit of letting anger flare in us, it may be difficult to change, but we can change if we want to.

Nephi seems to be at a point in his life where anger with himself, family, or friends is no longer a problem. But he realizes that nothing good can come from being angry even with his enemies. Whatever point we are at, we too can overcome anger and thereby make our lives happier. As the Old Testament preacher says, “Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools” (Eccl 7:9).


Wendi said...

That picture is hilarious. :) I struggle with a lot of things, but luckily, I don't get angry very often. I'm thankful for that blessing. :)

Sherrie Mills Johnson said...

Wendi, That is fantastic. I used to get angry about a lot of things, but I don't anymore. It is so freeing!!! And it is a blessing!!!

Anonymous said...

Sis. Johnson I had to comment on this one because I'm always telling my children anger is a choice. Anger is a tool the adversary uses to divide us and he uses it well and often. I am getting smarter though and I don't fall into that trap to much these days. I appreciate your thoughts on the subject. Love, TeLene

Sherrie Mills Johnson said...

TeLene, Sometimes getting older is worth it because we get wiser! Thanks for your comment! I love hearing from you.

Jessie said...

I really liked this one about anger Aunt Sherrie! It's so true...everything you said! Thanks for your wisdom!

Sherrie Mills Johnson said...

Jessie, I'm so glad you stopped by! And thanks for leaving a comment. I like your little dog.