Wednesday, May 7, 2014

3 Nephi 11:29-30 -- On Doing Away with Anger

"For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.
Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away."
3 Nephi 11:29-30

This is interesting stuff.  The spirit of contention is of the devil, and not of God.  And God's doctrine seems to be to eradicate the stirring up of anger.  ... I don't think that this means that any of us will immediately be able to erase anger from our lives, but it is a good thing to remember as we go throughout our days.  What do we do that causes contention, and what can we do to interact with people without anger?  The same things are going to happen, the same things that usually trigger our emotions, but God asks us to choose differently.  Can we?  I think so.  Not saying it is easy, but because we are human, we all have mental space between a trigger and a reaction.  We can choose to breathe.  To think about what we are doing, what we are saying, what we are feeling, and what God expects of us.  At first, maybe we'll only find a way to not explode, or only to quickly recover and apologize... but eventually, with practice, maybe we'll even find a way to love.  To overcome challenges in a way that isn't angry.  To even talk about things that we disagree about without being defensive or attacking.
Everyone feels anger from time to time.  The scriptures even talk about God's anger in several places.  But they also say that he is "slow to anger."  I like that, because it seems to mean that he is patient and kind and understanding, and only gets angry after a long time and zillions of chances.  God's being slow to anger is probably equal to our never being angry, just because his patience is probably longer than our lifetimes... but emulating God is always a good place to start.  If we can slow the escalation of emotion down, then we can stay rational.  Slow to anger doesn't mean slow, well-planned revenge, mind you. :)  It means that we are more patient and understanding of people's faults, and don't take offense even when we think people are trying to offend us or push our buttons on purpose.  It means that the love always comes first, and we look for solutions that help other people rather than just trying to get our own way.  If we get good at it, imagine what the absence of anger will do for our inner peace. :)  Definitely something to work for.

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