No one could tell the Rumplestilskin story with as much expression as my Granny. All I needed to hear was, “Once upon a time,” and she had my undivided attention.
When the princess guessed his name and foiled his plan to take her first born, he went into a rage and jumped up and down so hard and fast his foot crashed right through the floor and became stuck. That’s the part where I began giggling.
“Imagine acting so tacky and common,” my sweet southern grandmother would point out.
She would be shocked at today’s ugly behavior. Anger has become a weapon, a loose canon shot at any real or imagined insult or thwarted goal. There can be untold damage from the fallout of its explosive toxins. Road rage, abuse, murder, infidelity; the list is endless.
If the tapestry of human experience was void of all emotion, we would be boring as well as bored. The Lord wove us in wonderful and mysterious ways that include sense organs programmed to respond to stimuli. Sound, sight, smell, and touch are basic to a person’s central nervous system package.
Agreeing that all psychological, physiological and biological factors are in place in reasonably good order, let’s assume the response variable is in our hands. We have the power to control our reactions; or do we?
There are some involuntary physical responses to emotional intensity; for example: heart rate, breathing, muscle tremor, and even changes in blood composition. Add to that, stomachache, nausea, increased blood pressure, and dilated pupils and we can see how some consequences to emotional upheaval can sneak in without permission.
Take a herd of wild anything: horses, elephants, even monkeys. Turn them loose in civilization to dash in every direction with no supervision or parameters. The ‘amuck’ running rampant would be evidence of animal instinct; a self-at-all-cost jungle with few internal controls in place. In human nature, the far-reaching tentacles of unleashed intemperance seems to affect more relationships than not. Scripture teaches us to feed on FRUIT.
It is such an uncomplicated and wonderful solution, this embracing the fruit of the Spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are perfect regulators of uncivil behavior. You won’t find it in jars on the shelf at the local grocer. Partaking is so effective it can tame the most primitive of conduct.
‘Anger-stein’ is my euphemism for that part of us that can rear its ugly head and stomp its tacky foot right through the floor of a relationship. It is built of worn out parts that failed to thrive from the lack of FRUIT.
So what’s a body to do when confronted with the ‘Anger-stein’ monster? Of course, we can exercise a certain amount of learned restraint expected from cultural pressure, but we are nearly helpless without God’s intervention to corral serious and misplaced anger before damage is done.
Drinking deeply from the well of love, joy, peace, kindness, faithfulness, patience, gentleness, and self- control can be powerful in neutralizing harmful effects of anger, forcing it to lose hurricane force and ebb to a gentle breeze.
With the storm quieted, there is more opportunity to grasp a better perspective on the offending situation. Anger can be a signal that we may be a quart or two low on that nourishing fruit of the Spirit.
Grapes of wrath need to be seedless. There is no reason to reproduce more of the same. Children fed on the fruit of the Holy Spirit gain priceless new maturity, which helps them deal with intense and unhealthy reactions.
On paper, it seems a simple thing to wear this empowerment like a shield in order to avoid the consequences of anger, but in reality, since we are complicated children of a loving God, it takes conscious effort to humble ourselves.
With the Holy Spirit residing in the temple of these bodies, we should be so saturated that one bump against us would cause a serious fruit leakage whose sweetness would cover a multitude of offenses: theirs and ours.
Maybe a little guy who is stomping his foot in rage will learn something new that could soothe his ruffled feathers and in turn, pass it on to any incensed, provoked, indignant, or miffed person on his path.
It may take one to know one, but it also takes one to TEACH one.
Galatians 5:22-25 (NKJ)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such there is no law.
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