casual man in absolute despair and stress -“Mockers stir up a city, but the wise turn away anger.” Prov. 29:8 (NIV)

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After spending the day hunting for food with his men, Genghis Khan, the great conqueror, was extremely thirsty. He finally found a small stream that allowed him to slowly fill a cup he carried with him. As he was about to drink, the cup was knocked from his hands by his prized hunting hawk. This happened several times so that Khan was so angered that he took his sword and killed the hawk. As he moved upstream to fill the cup for the final time, he saw a dead poisonous snake filling a pool of the stream. He realized that his hawk had been trying to save his life, and in return, he had killed it. He vowed that day to never do anything again in anger.

Every one of us will experience anger from time to time, even as physicians. If we are honest with ourselves, there is not a person alive who does not periodically experience anger. Even Jesus experienced anger at the money- changers in the Temple. We have come to term that anger as “righteous anger”.

As Christians we can make the mistake of exerting a great deal of energy suppressing our emotions in an effort to prevent ourselves from becoming angry. We may even fear or feel shame about anger and therefore deny our feelings of anger. Instead of working hard to prevent or deny anger, our efforts should be focused on controlling anger when it arises.

When we become angry, the emotion overcomes our thinking processes and clouds our judgment. As the story above so vividly illustrates, we then become prone to actions that we will often later regret. The Proverb tells us that those who are wise “turn away” or effectively deal with their anger. They are able to deflect it and keep it from controlling them.

To deflect anger, we must first recognize and acknowledge it. Once anger is acknowledged, it becomes critical to guard the mouth as well as the words you write. If you find yourself becoming angry, adopt the wisdom of the writer of this Proverb and turn away that anger and thus allow it to dissipate before you respond with either spoken or written words.

Prayer: Lord, help me to turn away anger and use it positively for Your glory.

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