Can you see them? Mrs. Potts and Lumiere standing before Beast giving him advice? They told him to be witty, complimentary, gentle and sincere. But their most important words to him were these, “You must control your temper!”
Many of us could benefit from the same wise words. To go one further, let me share a bit more wisdom from Henry Drummond’s The Greatest Thing in the World.
“The peculiarity of ill temper is that it is the vice of the virtuous. It is often the one blot on an otherwise noble character. You know men who are all but perfect, and women who would be entirely perfect, but for an easily ruffled, quick-tempered, or “touchy” disposition. This compatibility of ill temper with high moral character is one of the strangest and saddest problems of ethics.”
Ouch! Have you been there? Have you ever lost your temper and let it fly, inflicting indiscriminate pain on those within your reach?
Love, the Bible says, is not easily provoked. But we, sad to say, are often easily provoked. Sometimes the pain we inflict isn’t indiscriminate at all, but rather calculated to impose some vengeful wound on one we feel has hurt us. How do we change that? How do we allow love to rule our thoughts, our actions and our words?
We look at Christ. He is our example and our reason to love, even in the face of unreasonable provocation.
We ask the Holy Spirit to change us. If we really are no longer slaves to sin, then surely we are no longer slaves to a hair-trigger temper either.
We practice. No great artist, pianist or sculptor became accomplished by wishful thinking. By the same token, we become patient and kind by practicing patience and kindness. We become self-controlled by practicing self-control. Will we fail? Of course. Have you never burned the beans? Played a wrong note? Tossed out your attempt at art or poetry? But, most likely, you did not cease to cook or play or create.
Practice, in this lifetime, probably will not make perfect. But it will make better.
We are called to love one another. We live more abundantly when we do so. Love is worth the effort.
All the thoughts from this blog are borrowed from Henry Drummond.