Don't be a vessel

Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. (Mark Twain)

If we were to be honest about our anger, we would likely acknowledge there is something within us that was wounded - our pride took a hit of some sort. Most of the time it is not that we just have a bad temper - it is an issue with our pride that causes us to have those outbursts that bring riffs in relationships. Most of us don't have 'rage issues' or 'bad tempers' - we just get a bit miffed at one another on occasion because something struck us wrong, we were disappointed by some response, or we just plain got our undies in a bundle because we didn't get our own way. I know - I just meddled in your mess a bit - but I also am meddling in mine!

If you are angry, be sure that it is not out of wounded pride or bad temper. Never go to bed angry—don’t give the devil that sort of foothold. (Ephesians 4:26)

I think this translation of this passage does a disservice by using the word 'if' - it is more accurate to use the word 'when' you are angry. God knows when our pride gets in the way, anger may not be far behind. We get 'moody' and a bit 'testy' when we find ourselves with a bit of 'wounding' to our pride. It comes out in all kinds of forms - curtness, sulking, shutting someone out. Regardless of the form it takes, it is something WE must own - because anger in any form is our doing, not the other person's. 

I think that is why Twain reminded us of the 'acidity' of anger when it is 'stored up' within us. It actually eats away at us - not the other person. God reminded us to not 'hold up' anger - deal with it in the here and now, not allowing the devil to get a foothold that could eventually become a stronghold in our lives. Anger isn't always someone else's fault - sometimes we do or say things that just escalate the situation and lead to things being said or done that would not have been otherwise. Remember: "He who angers you conquers you." (Elizabeth Kenny)

Rather than allowing the wound to fester, we owe each other the benefit of forgiveness. We actually might need to admit our 'pride' took a bit of a hit, but when we are humble enough to say we didn't respond well, we are on the road to letting go of the offense before it has a chance to become 'acidic' in our relationship. The hardest lesson we may have to learn is how to lay down our pride and actually learn how to reconcile issues as they arise. Reconciliation requires humility - there is no room for wounded pride if two are to agree on anything. Just sayin! 


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