Imagine if angelic beings went to school to learn to become guardian angels. They would probably have a lot of questions about the strange things that humans do on earth. They would need to study humans closely and learn the best ways to lead them into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. In this Angel Academy short story, the angels learn about the fifth commandment not to kill and the strategies that humans can use to calm down when angry.
“Class, please put your pencils down.” The archangel Barachiel, teacher at Angel Academy, stared out the window with a very solemn look on his face. The angel students put down their pencils and listened intently.
“Today we will be addressing a very disturbing challenge that some of you may face as guardian angels. Among the laws given to Moses in the Ten Commandments there is ‘You shall not kill.'”
“What does kill mean?” asked one of the angel students.
“To kill is to take the life of another human being,” said the teacher.
“Take the life? Do you mean end their life intentionally? Can they even do that?” asked an angel.
“Yes, indeed they can,” said Barachiel with his voice still just above a whisper. “Today I would like to help you prevent your human from ever coming close to such a sin.”
Their teacher moved to the front of the room and picked up the Bible to read to the class. “This is from the Lord Jesus Christ’s Sermon on the Mount. He said:
You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not kill;’ and ‘whoever kills shall be liable to judgement.’ But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgement; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire.”
“Whoa!” said an angel. “So even a human insulting another human is an extension of this commandment not to kill?”
“Yes,” said the teacher. “Likewise, you must guard your humans against the troubling emotion of anger.”
“But how?” asked a student.
Barachiel placed a clear container full to the brim with water in the front of the room. “This pot of water represents anger in the hearts of humans. Now, if I turn up the heat to show growing anger, what will happen?”
“The water will bubble and boil over,” said an angel.
“That’s correct. Let’s demonstrate.” The teacher pointed to the container and the class could see the water starting to boil and then become so hot that it bubbled and spilled over the sides of the container.
“When humans are really angry, they are a lot like this. They are hard to be around. They can hurt people nearby. They can even project that anger on other people by pouring it out like boiling water to hurt them.”
“How can they make the water stop boiling? I mean, how do they make the anger go away?” asked an angel.
“Well, just like it takes time for boiling water to cool off; it can take time for the anger to go away. Humans often go for a walk or take some time alone to cool down. This way they don’t hurt anyone or themselves with their anger,” said the teacher.
“What if we are guarding someone else that can help them? Is there anything they can do to help?” said an angel.
“Good point. Other humans can help cool off anger by listening and talking to someone who is boiling over. It often helps to release the heat through conversations. People really cool off if they know someone is there for them and hearing them,” said the teacher.
“What about God?” said an angel. “What can God do for humans if they seek his help?”
“Does anyone remember the words of Jesus on the Cross about those who killed him?” asked Barachiel.
“Forgive them, for they know not what they do,” said an astute angel with glasses in the front row.
“That’s right,” said Barachiel. “He forgave even those that killed him. That gives us a clue about how humans should do. Forgiveness can quickly cool the boiling anger. It may not make the emotional hurts go away, but it makes room for the love two people share to keep the water calm.”
“That makes a lot of sense,” said an angel student. “Jesus didn’t seek revenge. He didn’t want to kill those who killed him. He didn’t even get angry with the people that killed him.”
“After his teachings about anger in the Sermon on the Mount, he offered this instruction as well: ‘if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also.’ That’s exactly what Jesus did on the Cross.”
“So, to summarize,” said the angel with glasses. “When the humans get angry, help them find some time alone to cool off or turn to someone that loves and listens to them to talk about why they are angry.”
“Yes, that’s right. What else?” asked the teacher.
“Then we can pray for them asking God to give them the strength to forgive,” said another angel in the class. “They can follow the model of Jesus and forgive the people that have made them angry.”
“That’s right, too. God will grant them the strength to forgive. God is the source of all mercy and forgiveness after all,” said the teacher.
“Does God forgive someone who kills another human being?” asked an angel thoughtfully.
The archangel Barachiel took a deep breath. “Yes,” he said. “God forgives even the greatest of sinners. This may not repair the hurt that such violence caused others. Forgiveness can cool the boiling water of anger, but it doesn’t take away any painful burns of those that the water hit nearby.”
“I forgive them,” said an angel.
“Excuse me?” asked the teacher.
“I forgive them. The humans who have killed other humans. I forgive them but I feel so much sorrow for those who die and those who loved them.”
The archangel nodded his head. “May you never have to experience such sorrow with the human that you will guard.”
The angel nodded.
“Okay, class, you may continue with your work,” said Barachiel.
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