We are all susceptible to those feelings which, if left unchecked, can lead to anger. We experience displeasure or irritation or antagonism, and if we so choose, we lose our temper and become angry with others (“School Thy Feelings, O My Brother,” General Conference, October 2009).
27 And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy?
28 Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.
29 Do not anger again because of mine enemies. Do not slacken my strength because of mine afflictions.
In this chapter, Nephi laments how easily he gives in to temptation. Even as he takes responsibility for his actions, he recognizes that his mortal body is the source of some of these proclivities. In particular, he identifies a tendency to become angry when attacked and a tendency to give up too easily when under pressure. Those of us who have read about his experiences are impressed with how well he overcame these temptations on many occasions. Still, we can relate to his feelings of frustration when the instincts of the body overwhelm the convictions of the spirit and our actions contradict our deepest desires.
Thomas S. Monson has taught us to distinguish between our visceral reactions to unpleasant experiences and our ability to choose how we will respond:
Today, I will be aware of thoughts and feelings which I experience “because of my flesh.” I will seek the Lord’s help in overcoming temptation and will work hard to do what I know is right, especially when it involves overriding my natural instincts.