In Mosiah 10, Zeniff provides some explanation of why the Lamanites despise the Nephites. He explains that it goes back to the original Laman and Lemuel who always felt that they were wronged by their brother Nephi. As a result, it seemed like everything that Nephi did made his brothers “wroth” (or angry) with him. Verses 14 to 16 make the following statements regarding Laman and Lemuel:
- They were wroth with Nephi because they didn’t understand how God was working (and Nephi did).
- They were wroth with Nephi when he instructed them how to behave during the voyage to America.
- They were wroth with Nephi when he was recognized as the leader of the people.
- They were wroth with Nephi when he took his followers and departed.
To state the above in a different way — Nephi’s brothers were angry with him because he was the one who understood the will of God, but they were also angry when he tried to teach them about the will of God. They were angry when he was leading the people, but they were also angry when he departed, leaving them to be the leaders. In other words, they were angry with him no matter what he did.
For each of us, there will be occasions when we will be angry; however, these should be isolated events; they should not be used as an excuse to act in a non-Christlike manner (“Be ye angry, and sin not”) and should be put behind us as soon as possible (“let not the sun go down upon your wrath”).
On the other hand, there are, sadly, many people who — similar to Laman and Lemuel — are just plain angry no matter what:
- Perhaps I’m not happy with how my life has turned out, so I’m angry at life and everyone in it, especially those who appear to be happy.
- Perhaps I’m not happy with my job, so I’m angry at the boss, at my co-workers, etc. I try to imagine a day when I can work somewhere else (where I will probably be no happier and just as angry).
- Perhaps I’m not even happy with the church, so I suddenly find myself easily offended at what the minister is preaching, I find fault with the brothers and sisters, and I may even find that I no longer want to support all of the church’s beliefs.
As part of the family of God, it is not God’s will for us to lead angry lives; it’s His desire that we would lead joy-filled lives. The joy of salvation and the peace that God provides should be enough to overcome any general attitude of anger. If there is something about which we are perpetually angry — whether any of the above or something else — then we need to prayerfully consider the source of that anger and what the will of God is regarding the situation. He will direct us as to whether we need to make a change in the situation or make a change within ourselves such that we can cease the attitude of anger.
If we are not currently angry, then let’s be careful about associating with people who are. Anger is contagious, and there’s nothing an angry person wants more than to spread that anger to others. In Proverbs, it counsels us to “make no friendship with an angry man” (22:24) and that “an angry man stirreth up strife” (29:22). Let’s protect our peace and joy by not letting those who are angry drag us into their world.
God has called us to a life of joy in preparation for an eternal life of joy. Let’s not allow the enemy to infuse us with his anger and steal our joy.
P.S. If you are not familiar with the phrase that inspired the title of this article or if you find it kind of corny – Sorry, I couldn’t resist! Don’t be wroth, eh?
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.