They were traveling as a couple. There’s no telling what ignited the blazing war of words between them, but he was mean. (To be fair, I couldn’t understand much of what she had to say.) His steady stream of vitriol went on and on as those of us already buckled into nearby seats for the flight to Montreal prayed it wouldn’t escalate into fisticuffs.
As I listened, unavoidably, my heart ached and my thoughts turned to the man beside me. He has been beside me for years now, decades in fact, and has never raised his voice at me or directed swearing hatefulness my way. Ephesians five tells husbands to love their wives. This can be accomplished by the grace of God, with the help of the Holy Spirit. (And of course, we ladies, while tasked with giving respect, are surely meant to love our husbands as well.)
Most of the time, that’s easy. Some of the time, those closest to us make us hopping mad. Ken Werlein of Faithbridge church, recently preached on anger; (The whole sermon is available here: http://faithbridge.org/sermons/wisdom-for-life/anger ) He made this obvious, but easily forgotten, point:
No matter what someone does to provoke us, we have done the same and more to provoke the wrath of God. Yet God forgives us and offers us his forgiveness, his love and his kindness every single day. Thus, even when we find no earthly reason to offer grace to a fellow human being, we have a wealth of heavenly reasons to do so.
And so today, as Valentine’s Day approaches, let me encourage you to let your words and tone convey a small portion of the love God gives us despite our faults.
May we all be, as James 1:19 says, “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”