Patience and Anger

“Be patient and understanding,” he said, “and you will overcome all evil deeds and will accomplish all righteousness.” —The Shepherd of Hermas, a first-century document used by Christian teachers of the time.

He continues, “For the Lord lives in patience, but the devil lives in an angry temper.”

“But an angry temper is first of all foolish, fickle, and senseless. Then from foolishness comes bitterness, and from bitterness wrath, and from wrath anger, and from anger vengefulness. Then vengefulness, being composed of all these evil elements, becomes a great and incurable sin.”

Why do I spend no more than about 15-20 minutes a day on Facebook and Twitter? Did you ever go back in a quiet moment and read the things you post and pass along?

It amazes me that we can look at teaching that is close to 2,000 years old seeing that it perfectly captures the status of the human heart today.

When I entered a life of contemplation more than 50 years ago, I thought all the teaching would be about “enlightenment”. Instead, it’s all about conquering all the evil in the heart and trying to live the right way.

It’s like the ancient Zen Buddhist master said, “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”

We have to go on living minute-by-minute. How shall we choose to do that?

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