He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty,
And he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.
– Proverbs 16:32
A guy pulls a gun on another customer during a dispute at a fast-food restaurant.
A teenager shoots his parents over a video game. A father kills his daughters because he feels they have dishonored the family name. These extreme stories happen with increasing frequency and highlight the destructive nature of a soul out of control.
Most of us would never consider doing anything this horrendous. Our paler version of anger still kills, though. Harsh words are effective weapons when fired at close range into the hearts of those with whom we come into contact every day.
Don’t you hate the moment you see pain in the eyes of someone you have hurt? A million apologies can never take back the violence of the blow. The wound may heal, but the scar it leaves will always be a reminder of your cruelty.
Sometimes we forget the power of words. Every day we have the power to speak life or death into another person. In our most unguarded moments, when we are feeling distinctly unspiritual, we may be presented with the opportunity to shine a light into someone’s darkness.
It will likely be when we are the most preoccupied and the least inclined to shine. When we’re wrapped up in our own needs, we’re ignoring the needs of others and are most in danger of crushing anyone who happens to get in our way.
To be effective soldiers of the cross, we must rule our own souls.
First and foremost, our war should be against our own barbarity. Before we can present the cross to others, we must first crucify ourselves.
It’s a difficult mission, isn’t it? Every day we face injustice and a lot of obnoxious people. There is never enough time, finances, or energy to accomplish everything. Under such pressure, it’s easy to get frustrated and give in to anger.
But then, Jesus didn’t call us to the easy path, did He?
Gentleness should be the mantle of all who follow the Christ. It’s the shield with which we protect others from the arrows of the enemy. If we learn to rule our own emotions and respond to others with kindness, we can be a powerful force for good.
Conquer ourselves, and we will be a true warriors for God.