Too Hot to Trot
"Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools" (Ecclesiastes 7:9).
It was day seven of a two-week, 95 degree and above heat wave. I was thinking our homeschool family had done fairly well in not letting our tempers rise like the thermometer's mercury; however, as I walked outside to do the evening chores, I noticed several jobs left undone by my children. Frustrated with their poor performance, I continued to the barn to feed the horses and noticed my daughter riding her horse bareback in the arena. Dripping wet, the horse appeared to be sweating profusely. Angrily, I barked, "Don't you know that you shouldn't be riding that horse when it's this hot outside? Cool that animal down right now and get those chores done like I asked!"
As my daughter cowered and walked past me, I saw the hurt expression on her face. My angry outburst had wounded her spirit, and I knew that I needed to make short order of asking forgiveness. Walking up to her, I said, "I'm sorry, honey. I shouldn't have yelled at you like that."
"That's OK, Mom," she replied. "I forgive you. I'm sorry I didn't get the chores done like you asked. I was just waiting for it to cool down before working outside, and the reason my horse looked wet wasn't from sweat, it was actually from the water that I used to cool her off. I was just riding her from the pasture to the barn to put her in the shade."
Humbled by her loving response to my false accusations of irresponsibility, I asked forgiveness again and said, "I'm so sorry. How foolish I was to get so angry without even asking you a few simple questions!"
Anger may be a real human emotion, but like any other emotion, it should never be dictated or controlled by the flesh, no matter what the temperature is outside. Galatians 5:20 tells us that the Lord views wrath as a work of the flesh, and James 1:20 says, "the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God." God's remedy for controlling anger's destructive outbursts includes bridling the tongue (James 3:5-6) and allowing the Holy Spirit to help us be "swift to hear, slow to speak" (James 1:19). If homeschooling and the summer heat are getting to you, take a step back, count to ten, and pray for God's help to see and hear the problems for what they are: opportunities to display His grace instead of your anger. "He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding" (Proverbs 14:29a).
Father, forgive me when I allow anger to control my emotions and destroy my relationships. Help me instead to be controlled by the Holy Spirit and remember that true love is always patient, kind, and long-suffering. In Jesus' name, Amen.