Anger, Empathy and Love

by Rev Lai Kai Ming

Readings: 1 Corinthians 12:27-13:13; Psalm 77

READ (verse/s chosen for meditation)
1 Corinthians 13:5
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

REFLECT
While I don’t usually subscribe to the NIV, its translation of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 is the most helpful for me. Most challenging to me is the part on not being easily angered and not keeping record of wrongs. How difficult that is! I often ask myself, what makes a person lose their temper so quickly? Genetics? Physical and emotional tiredness? Perhaps. But I suspect the culprit is often the inability to empathize. We get angry with someone because we cannot understand why they behave so differently from what we expect. Be it with an inconsiderate driver, incompetent colleague, imperfect spouse, or uncooperative child – our quickness to anger reflects our own inability to love.

RELATE
How easy it is to point the finger. When I lack love, I quickly put the blame on the other. It’s her fault. He made me so angry. Yet an honest look into my heart would reveal the root of the problem – my own pride, and my inability to embrace the weak and imperfect. No one can make me angry. I need to be reminded that anger need not be my only response to another person’s actions. Try mercy. Try sorrow. Try love.

REST
Lord, the next time I am tempted to react angrily – show me a better way to live.

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