Temper (Lent #31)

holy temper“The point of Christian experience is not to generate feelings of love but for us to become loving persons.” – Henry H. Knight, III

Ah, Dr. Knight.

You will be hard pressed to find a kinder, gentler man.  You will also be hard pressed to find someone more knowledgeable and passionate about the teachings of John Wesley.

The quote above is Dr. Knight’s summary of Wesley’s thought concerning “holy tempers”. (check it out)

Admittedly, when I think of tempers, I first imagine children throwing tantrums or some guy lashing out in a fit of rage.  Certainly, this is one way we can understand temper or tempers, but it is not what Wesley had in mind.

For Wesley, holy tempers were expressions of an abiding disposition, a way of being.  As Knight suggests, tempers are not just feeling love (or some other emotion) but becoming a person of love.

Tempers are fruits of the Spirit which take up residence in the believer, manifesting themselves in ones thoughts and actions.  Tempers are our character.  Tempers are our heartbeat.

Tempers can also be unholy, but let us not dwell on such unpleasantness. Instead, let us consider the cultivation of holy tempers in our  lives.

Can we use this wilderness time to ponder how much patience, gentleness and self-control we find evidenced in our lives?  Can we pray for more peace and gentleness?  Can we seek out ways to practice and share kindness and joy?   Can we use this time to deepen our understanding of love?

Can we experience the renewal of mind and spirit Christ experienced as he moved through the wilderness?

If so, perhaps like Christ, we will be prepared to declare…

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19)


Life is better together,

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