Day Two Hundred Fifteen “Hot Letter”
He was a statesman who led our young nation through the greatest moral, constitutional, and political crises of our history, and although his life was filled with political and personal struggles, he still managed to embody a spirit of wisdom, calm, and inspiration. Abraham Lincoln possessed the uncanny ability to think before he responded, exemplified by a number of letters that he wrote, but never delivered. When Mr. Lincoln felt the urge to give someone a tongue-lashing, or to explode in anger, he composed what he referred to as a hot letter. He would pile all his pent-up anger into that note, let his emotions run amok, but then he would put that letter aside until he had the opportunity to reflect, to cool down. He often found himself writing upon the note: never sent, never signed. General Meade would never receive that angry letter from his commander-in-chief rebuking and blaming him for allowing Robert E. Lee to escape from Gettysburg, for it was never sent, never signed.
I have great respect for that man, a man who was “not hasty in (his) spirit to be angry,” for I personally find myself struggling with the speak-before-you-think syndrome. In the the Book of Ezekiel, we are afforded the opportunity to relive the tragic destruction of the great city of Jerusalem, to witness the homes contained therein brought to ruin, to weep as the temple is destroyed and the wall surrounding the city is pummeled to the ground. But decades later, when Nehemiah arrived on the scene, he would be burdened by God to return to that holy city and lead an effort to “rebuild the wall of Jerusalem” which was “broken down.” Why such urgency for a wall? Nehemiah knew that those walls were crucial to the protection of the city, providing a means of separation from whatever was threatening from outside sources. Without that wall, the city would be susceptible to attack again. God used that wall to convict me that when my spirit is out of control, I am much like that “city that is broken down, and without walls.”
My angry outbursts, my lack of self-control, brand me as a fool, for God’s Word clearly states that “anger resteth in the bosom of fools,” and too often, that foolishness alive and well within me. Blame it on fatigue, an over-burdened schedule, out-of-whack hormones, financial stresses, or daily irritations, it still boils down to a woman who, due to her hastiness to respond in anger, “exalteth folly.” Perhaps Mr. Lincoln was pondering God’s admonition: “A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterward” when he penned his hot letters and kept them “till afterward.”
My Redeemer is so patient with me, so “slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy,” yet I find difficulty in responding to those who irritate me with the same grace exemplified by Christ. Help me to learn the lesson of the broken wall by cooling down and giving the Holy Spirit an opportunity to work on my out-of-control emotions before I assault someone with anger. It is only when I yield complete control to His Spirit that I keep those walls standing strong.
Ecclesiastes 7:9 Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry, for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.
Proverbs 29:11 A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.
God, when I am about to allow my temper to rage out of control, help me to remember that broken down wall. Help me to submit my anger to the control of Your Spirit, simmer down, and act in wisdom instead of foolishness.<div class='sharedaddy sd-block sd-like jetpack-likes-widget-wrapper jetpack-likes-widget-unloaded' id='like-post-wrapper-164683012-2012-648422428631d' data-src='https://widgets.wp.com/likes/#blog_id=164683012&post_id=2012&origin=grandmasgleanings.com&obj_id=164683012-2012-648422428631d' data-name='like-post-frame-164683012-2012-648422428631d' data-title='Like or Reblog'><h3 class="sd-title">Like this:</h3><div class='likes-widget-placeholder post-likes-widget-placeholder' style='height: 55px;'><span class='button'><span>Like</span></span> <span class="loading">Loading...</span></div><span class='sd-text-color'></span><a class='sd-link-color'></a></div>