Abraham Lincoln’s secretary of war, Edwin Stanton, was angered by an army officer who accused him of favoritism. Lincoln suggested that Stanton write the officer a sharp letter. Stanton did, and showed the strongly worded missive to the president. “What are you going to do with it?” Lincoln inquired. Surprised, Stanton replied, “Send it.” Lincoln shook his head. “You don’t want to send that letter,” he said. “Put it in the stove. That’s what I do when I have written a letter while I am angry. It’s a good letter and you had a good time writing it and you feel better. Now burn it, and write another.”
That’s great advice, isn’t it? How often do words spoken in haste or anger come back to haunt us?
A lady once came to Billy Sunday and tried to rationalize her angry outbursts. “There’s nothing wrong with losing my temper,” she said. “I blow up, and then it’s all over.”
“So does a shotgun,” Sunday replied, “and look at the damage it leaves behind!”
Let us pray: Loving God, yes there are times when we get angry, times when we feel hurt, times when we feel we can no longer stand the injustice or wrongs in the world around us. We ask that in those moments, you would help us find appropriate channels for our anger. Give us patience and wisdom. Help us to know when to let go and when and how to act. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.