Anger is one of those emotions we don’t readily bring up in polite conversation. After all, we’re nice people and we think there’s enough craziness in the world.

If fact, we’d like to balance the scales, weighing in with compassion and kindness and those things that keep people calmly going about their business.

Proverbs 29:11 says, “Fools show their anger, but the wise hold back.” Now that sounds like good advice, but maybe what’s at issue isn’t that we feel angry, but that we don’t know how to show anger in a way that’s fair.

That ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle offered us this advice somewhere around 350BC. He said, “Anybody can become angry–that is easy; but to be angry with the right person, and to the right degree, and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way–that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.”

I suspect if Aristotle was with us today, He’d look at our social media explosions and think the whole world has anger issues. He might wonder if anyone understands love and charity.

Looking at the wisdom of Proverbs and that of Aristotle, what can we say about those insults that spill out of people’s frustrations right into our laps? Perhaps we can measure our anger by asking some of these questions posed by the great philosopher. Am I angry at the right person? Is my anger in proportion to the insult? Is my anger misplaced or misdirected or simply out of line?

Most of us don’t really like feeling angry with anyone. We prefer peace and compassion. We want people to get along with each other. So what can we do to balance the scales and bring forgiveness? We can pray and ask God to help us understand the situation that causes us to feel angry. We can be aware of things that trigger angry responses that may have little to do with others. We can remember that letting off steam may feel good for the moment, but may not put the fire out.

Here’s one more thought: Think about how much you appreciate the fact that God Himself is “slow to anger, abounding in love. He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.”

Whew! We’re certainly glad about that, aren’t we? Let’s do the same for each other.