Galatians, chapters 4-6

“Now the works of the flesh are plainly seen, and they are […] strife, jealousy, fits of anger, dissensions, divisions […]. Those who practice such things will not inherit God’s Kingdom.”
~Galatians 5:19-21

I am highlighting this passage because recently I decided I need to be more mild in spirit and less contentious.
Perhaps we inherited a quick temper from one of our parents or it is a result of never having cultivated patience.
Maybe we find it easy to be polite face-to-face but immediately get hot headed when someone cuts us off in traffic, or gives us less than enthusiastic customer service over the phone.
Or maybe we generally get along well with someone until we find out they were rude to someone we love.
Regardless of our reasons, as Christians we need to be in control of what we feel instead of giving free reign to our emotions. (Gal. 5:22,23)

A recent article in the JW app, titled “How to Control Your Anger,” cited the following words of wisdom:

“Let go of anger and abandon rage; Do not become upset and turn to doing evil.” (Ps. 37:8)

“Also, let the peace of the Christ rule in your hearts, for you were called to that peace in one body. And show yourselves thankful.” (Col. 3:15)

“Finally, all of you have unity of mind, fellow feeling, brotherly affection, tender compassion, and humility.” (1 Pet. 3:8)

“The insight of a man certainly slows down his anger, And it is beauty on his part to overlook an offense.” (Prov. 19:11)

“Let your words always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should answer each person.” (Col. 4:6)

“Know this, my beloved brothers: Everyone must be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger.” (Jas. 1:19)

Genesis, chapters 25-28

Last week’s reading taught me about resolving conflicts through faith and mildness.

In Genesis ch. 26 verses 16 & 17, we see how the Philistines grow afraid of Isaac due to his ever-growing prosperity and so their king asks him to leave.

A·bim′e·lech then said to Isaac: “Move from our neighborhood, for you have grown far stronger than we are.” So Isaac moved from there and encamped in the valley of Ge′rar and began dwelling there.

As Isaac’s servants are working hard digging up his fathers’ old wells which the Philistines had stopped up, they find a new well.

And the shepherds of Ge′rar began quarreling with the shepherds of Isaac, saying: “The water is ours!” So he named the well E′sek [meaning: contention] because they had quarreled with him (Gen. 26:20).

Isaac decides to move on and they look for another well.

And they started digging another well, and they began quarreling over it also. So he named it Sit′nah [meaning: accusation] (Gen. 26:21).

Again, instead of arguing with the Philistines, Isaac moves his men elsewhere. This time he is successful.

Later he moved away from there and dug another well, but they did not quarrel over it. So he named it Re·ho′both [meaning: broad places] and said: “It is because now Jehovah has given us ample room and has made us fruitful in the land,” (Gen. 26:22).

As a result, the Philistine king who had kicked him out now seeks him out to form a pact of peace between them.

At this Isaac said to them: “Why have you come to me, seeing that you hated me and sent me away from your neighborhood?” To this they said: “We have clearly seen that Jehovah has been with you. So we said, ‘Let there, please, be an oath of obligation between us and you, and let us make a covenant with you that you will do nothing bad to us just as we have not harmed you, seeing that we have done only good to you in that we sent you away in peace. You now are the blessed of Jehovah.’” Then he made a feast for them, and they ate and drank. In the morning they got up early and swore an oath to each other. After that Isaac sent them away, and they went from him in peace (Gen. 26:27-31).

Isaac’s mildness is blessed again as while this is happening, his servants find yet another well.

On that day the servants of Isaac came and reported to him about the well that they had dug, and they told him: “We have found water!” (Gen. 26:32).

From this I see that when we make a genuine effort to foment peaceful relations with others, even when we know we are right and they are wrong, God does not abandon us and continues providing for our needs.