Something has been infecting us lately, and it isn’t COVID-19. It’s been around for much longer and has led to more death and destruction than even an epidemic. You can’t mask against it, and there is no tangible medical solution for it. 

To make it appear, you just need to read or hear the right word or two: vaccine, government, Democrat, Republican, social justice. Do you feel that? The disease is anger.

This disease is spreading far and fast, on every news channel, in casual conversations, everywhere and anywhere we can think of, maybe even inside your church. Anger on any side of any hot topic is infecting us. We have the disease, and we’ve been infected. I dare say we may even be possessed. The enemy is succeeding.

Listen to this: 

“When a man professes to be sanctified, and yet in words and works may be represented by the impure fountain sending forth its bitter waters, we may safely say, That man is deceived. He needs to learn the very alphabet of what constitutes the life of a Christian. Some who profess to be servants of Christ have so long cherished the demon of unkindness that they seem to love the unhallowed element and to take pleasure in speaking words that displease and irritate.”*

Today, Christians are more callous toward one another and to non-Christians than I believe God is pleased with. How did we become this way? Matthew 13 alerts us that, indeed, the enemy has planted something in us. Where there is supposed to be something good, instead something bad is growing up. This isn’t the way Jesus exemplified that we should live.

How to Defeat Unkindness

What can we do to fight this disease of anger, the demon of unkindness? James, chapter 1, in the Bible has the answer. The essence of the first part of the chapter is that we are gaining positive things when we face trials. In part, this means that properly dealing with issues when they come helps us to be ready for more significant problems when they present themselves later. If we aren’t faring so well with this trial of anger, perhaps we missed something beforehand. However, fear not. We should not be without hope.

Noting the problem, we can understand there is a solution. James 1:1920 reads, “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (NKJV). Be swift to hear and quick to listen. A lot of the world’s problems could be solved by implementing this tactic. And we can utilize it to help in the areas where we have influence.

To be quick to listen means we should take an interest in what other people are saying, even if we don’t agree with them. Our lack of listening ability may be a significant contributor to why many young adults are leaving the Adventist Church at present.

And then step two in the three-step process from James 1:19 tells us that we should be slow to speak. The acronym THINK is helpful here. Before we say something or post it online, we should ask whether it is True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary, and Kind. 

By following these two steps, step three becomes easier: be slow to wrath, or anger.

Minimizing our anger maximizes our ability to be winsome to others. Satan knows this, which is why he pushes everyone to fall for anger, regardless of where we stand on any given topic. A key component to his deception and infection is corrupting our view of who other people are. When someone doesn’t think the way we do, we tend to think less of them. This, again, isn’t the way Jesus showed us.

Matthew 25:31-40 contains a powerful reminder that those we might consider “strangers” are indeed very important people. Chapter 70 of the book The Desire of Ages, entitled “The Least of These My Brethren,” is your prescribed assignment. Read this chapter, and I believe you will have a renewed understanding of the heart of God. Mind you, the people referred to in this chapter are those who have hearts that are “in need of consolation.” Many people everywhere have hearts in need of consolation. Those people are Republicans, and they are Democrats, they are independents, they wear masks, they don’t wear masks, they get vaccinated, they refuse the vaccination. Every one of them needs the love of Jesus, not the demon of unkindness. Which will you show them?

The original version of this commentary was posted by Southern Tidings.

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* Ellen G. White, The Sanctified Life (Battle Creek, Mich.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1889), p. 16.

Most, but not all, American kids grow up celebrating Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. I happen to be one of those “not all”s. My father just wasn’t around. Liquor wooed and crazed him. After too many altercations of abuse to my mother (with her screams and his curses), my mother and I left when I was age 5. I don’t have any good memories.

Within a matter of weeks after bunking with a single-mother friend of Mom’s, I became a ward of Family and Children’s Services because my mother had no financial means to take care of me. Most of the other children in the care home were like me. I actually dreaded Father’s Day. I felt glad that it occurred each year during school vacation, because teachers would always make a big thing about Mother’s Day; and if Father’s Day celebration had come during school months, surely we’d be expected to participate in the making of little gifts for them, too. I wasn’t alone in my dread.

We kids weren’t blind. We spied other children whose daddies played with them; and best of all, they got lifted up onto their daddy’s laps. We saw lots of hugs and kisses going between. It looked like such fun, what love was surely supposed to be.

Making an Effort

When I turned 10, I really tried to be my dad’s daughter—even walking a few miles and visiting him on Saturdays while he was jailed for six months for the robbery of a cigarette machine while on a drunken spree with a friend. By this time, I was newly back living with my mother. But she had to be at work, so I was on my own and lonely, and I thought he must be lonely. After his release, he wanted to reconcile, but Mom figured she wasn’t going to risk it. So he continued to be an absent dad. It was as if my jailhouse visits hadn’t mattered.

A Heavenly Father

But the day came when his role was filled for me by the most wonderful Father a kid could ever want, even though I was now a young woman of 18. His name is Father God. I first discovered Him by studying the Lord’s Prayer.  From the time I was age 12 I’d been searching for God, although I hadn’t known that He was my Father. I found my real Dad was full of compassion, strength, kindness, and love. He was always there for me. I talked to Him every day in prayer. I asked Him to give me something to do for Him to bless others. He did, and writing became a ministry. And I forgave my dad.

Now I’m at an advanced old age, and I look back at the fathering my husband, our son, and his sons have done and are doing to be good dads. None of them is perfect, but all of them love Jesus, and they know about the Sonship between Jesus and His Father, our Father God.

The spiritual family connection is vital to truly appreciate fatherhood at its best with our ever-present Daddy.


Betty Kossick and her husband, Johnny, live in Apopka, Florida, where Betty continues her work as a freelance writer. You can contact Betty at [email protected]