“So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.”
- James 3:5-8, ESV
“The pen is mightier than the sword.”
- Edward Bulwer-Lytton
A couple of years ago, I was so angry with someone and I was expressing my displeasure and anger to my friends through e-mail. One of the recipients somehow sympathized with my emotions but pointed out that I was just ranting. I didn’t know the word at that time so I looked for its meaning. It says, “To speak or write in an angry or violent manner.” That was a pretty straightforward definition and I found my attitude and e-mails falling in that category.
For a person with an anger problem like me, it’s so easy to find something to be angry with or to find something to complain about. Unruly drivers, inconsiderate motorcycle riders, slow service from a vendor, dog excrements on the roads, politicians politicking to get votes, traffic jams, slow internet and the list goes on. It can go endless but somehow it has to stop.
For a person who doesn’t want to go down without a fight, I would try to find to retaliate. I will write a stinging letter or e-mail to reprimand whoever is my recipient. Or I will write a stinging letter or e-mail as a response if I’m the initial recipient of the reprimanding. As I’ve said, I won’t go down without a fight so I will find ways to prove that I’m not in the erring side. I would seek all plausible argument to shift all blame to the other party. After all isn’t it that the pen is mightier than the sword. Then let it be a good fight.
Before the start of the year, I just told myself that I have to stop getting irritated with the things that pisses me off. I can’t change others and the situation I’m in by getting angry. I also realized that I’m reverting back to my old angry self. I have realized that I have slid so far from the source of my real joy that’s why I’m so easily irritated. I forgot that I’m living in a fallen and crooked world. Am I being a salt and light to prevent its further decay or my attitude is just making it worst? It’s a shame that it’s the latter.
A few days ago, I was reading an article about being a servant. I was struck by one characteristic: A servant does not talk back. It felt like I was hit by a brick from above on my head when I was reading that portion. I haven’t been a servant because I talk back and I talk back through the e-mails or letters that I write. I tried to determine why I’m talking back. I just thought that I’m probably thinking, in my pride, that I’m a better person. I just thought that I was hurt so I will retaliate in response. Again, it is because I was proud. I also realized and noticed that my messages are often lengthy and I was reminded of Proverbs 10:19 that says, “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise (NIV).” And Ecclesiastes 5:2 says, “Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few (ESV).”
What now? It’s hard! On my own, it’s really hard. Even impossible! That’s why I need God to give me grace that I need to seek on a constant basis. I need to pray. I need to pray hard! I need wisdom and I can only find it from His Word. I need to learn to keep my mouth shut. I need to learn to keep my hands from typing and clicking.
I have to be circumspect with how I behave. Out there, I might jeopardize my life and safety or my love ones. In my family, it could seriously short-circuit my relationship with them. In the office, it may jeopardize my employment or damage seemingly volatile relationships.