Navigating Life’s Storms: The Art of Being Slow to Anger
Picture this: you’re a seasoned sailor, navigating a ship through the mighty ocean. You’ve seen all kinds of weather, from the gentle breeze of a calm sea to the ferocious wind of a storm. On this particular day, out of nowhere, a violent tempest approaches, and the ocean begins to churn with massive waves battering your ship. Panic is the enemy here. You could choose to fight the storm with anger and rash decisions, or you could choose to stay calm, keep your composure, hold steady, and navigate through. Interestingly, isn’t life just like this?
“A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1)
This scripture beautifully illustrates the virtue of being slow to anger. It is akin to being that seasoned sailor who remains composed even amidst the storm. The power of a soft answer, of a calm demeanor, has the capacity to diffuse tension, to turn away wrath. But if we let anger take the helm, we stir up a storm of our own making.
Consider the example of Nephi from The Book of Mormon. His older brothers, Laman and Lemuel, were often rebellious, creating numerous challenges for him and his family. Their behaviors even escalated to attempts on Nephi’s life. Yet, Nephi exemplified what it means to be slow to anger. During their journey to the promised land, when Laman and Lemuel tied him up, causing him great discomfort, Nephi didn’t retaliate with anger. Instead, he responded with calmness, with patience, counseling them to repent and seek God’s forgiveness (1 Nephi 18:10-21).
So, why is being slow to anger of such paramount importance in our lives? It’s because anger, like a blinding storm, can cloud our judgment. It can cause us to lose sight of virtues like love, kindness, and understanding. It can strain or even break the relationships we hold dear and rob us of the peace and tranquility that our Savior, Jesus Christ, wants for us.
How then can we cultivate this virtue of being slow to anger? The key lies in developing empathy, which involves understanding and sharing the feelings of others. Patience, too, is essential. It gives us that necessary pause, a moment to breathe, think, and choose our response thoughtfully, rather than reacting instantly out of anger. Is it easy? No, but then, the strongest sailors are not made in calm waters but in stormy seas.
As we strive to emulate Nephi’s patience and restraint, we not only improve our interpersonal relationships but also draw ourselves closer to our Savior. His teachings guide us to a life of patience, understanding, and love—all antidotes to anger.
So, let us set sail on this journey to master the art of being slow to anger. Let’s become the seasoned sailors who navigate through life’s stormy seas with patience and understanding, leading us to the safe harbor of stronger relationships, deeper peace, and a closer connection with Christ.