Two of my favorite quotes from Aristotle are incredibly relevant today. They are good reminders for me, and have seriously caused me to repent and focus my energies on serving others more.
1. “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.”
– The first talks about the importance of distinguishing between good anger and bad anger. Bad anger is impulsive. Good anger has higher standards and stricter parameters, that’s why it takes a better man or woman to be patient and think through facts and the big picture. Good anger leads to the fulfillment of right purpose in the right way. Bad anger leads to destructive behavior.
2. It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
– The second talks about the importance of education. The definition of the word educate was never simply about people going to schools and getting grades. To educate means to “lead forth” or “bring out”, to “train and prepare”, so education can happen beyond academics. To educate a person means to bring out the best qualities of that person. You know a person has been trained when circumstances bring out the best in him or her. They can look at things without reacting, they can hear a view and not have to choose a side right away, they can even be opposed and can debate without being disrespectful or insecure because they understand each person’s right to their own opinion without wavering in their own conviction.
Now for those who call themselves Christians, we have an even higher standard, and that is this, that in all circumstances, the fruit of the Spirit be on display. The fruit of the Spirit is Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
So an educated Christian is one that can get angry, hear opposing view points, yet in both situations bear the good fruit of the Spirit in his or her response.