By Charles Spurgeon, English preacher and author, John Ploughman’s Pictures: More Plain of His Plain Talk for Plain People, 1880.
Anger is a short madness. The less we do when we go mad, the better for everybody; and the less we go mad, the better for ourselves. He is far gone who hurts himself to wreak his vengeance on others. The old saying is, “Don’t cut off your head because it aches.” If things go awry, it is a poor way of mending to make them worse… Do nothing when you are out of temper, and then you will have less to undo. He who cannot curb his temper carries gunpowder in his bosom, and he is neither safe for himself nor his neighbors. Anger will often do a man more hurt than that which made him angry. It opens his mouth and shuts his eyes; it fires his heart and drowns his sense. Anger is a fire which cooks no victuals, and comforts no household; it cuts and curses and kills, and no one knows what it may lead to; therefore, don’t let it lodge in your bosom…
When passion has run away with a man, who knows where it will carry him ? Once a rider loses power over his horse, he may go over hedge and ditch, and end with a tumble into the stone-quarry and a broken neck. No one can tell what he may do when he gets angry, so therefore it is best to run no risks. Those who feel their temper rising will be wise if they rise themselves and walk off. If you carry loose gunpowder in your pocket, you had better not go where sparks are flying ; and if you are bothered with an irritable nature, you should move off when folks begin teasing you. Better keep out of a quarrel than fight your way through it. Nothing is improved by anger. Whatever wrong I suffer, it cannot do me half so much hurt as being angry about it, for passion shortens life and poisons peace. When once we give way to temper, temper will claim a right of way, and come in easier every time. Better bite your lips now than smart for life. It is easier to keep a bull out of a china shop than it is to get him out again; and, besides, there’s no end of the bill to pay for damages. It is a cruel thing to tease quick-tempered people, for though it may be sport to you, it is death to them; at least, it is death to their peace, and may be something worse. Jesus said, ‘Woe to that man by whom the offence comes.” Shun a furious man as you would a mad dog, but do it kindly, or you may make him worse than he would be. As we quietly move off, pray for the angry person, for a man in a thorough passion is as sad a sight as to see a neighbor’s house on fire and no water handy to put out the flames…
Proverbs 15:1 — A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Proverbs 19:11 — A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.
Matthew 5:22 — (Jesus said), “I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.”
Ephesians 4:26 — In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.
James 1:19,20 — Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, for a man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.
O God, from whom all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works do proceed; give unto thy servants that peace which the world cannot give; so that our hearts may be set to obey thy commandments, and, being defended by thee from the fear of our enemies, we may pass our time in rest and quietness, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. —Book of Common Prayer