let’s talk about how to handle the emotion called anger.
to a great extent the sudden excitement on the reception of an injury is involuntary, and consequently innocent. anger is excited when a horse kicks us; when we stub our toe on a chair or when someone raises his hand to strike us. the purpose is rouse us to an immediate defense of ourselves when suddenly attacked. it prompts immediate action to self-protection. however, when that is done its proper purpose ceases.
beyond this purpose, anger is like poison.
this is why Paul offered the wisdom to “Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry.” (MSG) you might be more familiar with the KJV that basically says to anger and sin not; don’t let the sun go down on your wrath.
either way, the wisdom in this advice is that anger should be dealt with quickly and not allowed to sit within our heart boiling away until it fuels a desire to extract revenge.
difficult to practice.
following a very volatile divorce and custody battle, i found my heart broken and full of pain.
each unresolved, threatening issue caused me to feel more and more vulnerable and at risk.
there were valid reasons for my anger and i desperately wanted to save myself from real and perceived danger.
my heart was becoming a storage vessel. mark twain stated that anger is an acid that can do more harm to a vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.
this was true in my case.
not only, was my anger ineffective in dealing with my ex, but my heart was so full of anger that i became explosive at minor annoyances in other areas of my life. the anger was refusing to remain contained.
i was losing my ability to walk my journey in peace.
this made my existence miserable.
the price was far to high…i began to crave the return of peace in my life. i had held on to this anger far too long.
i had to get a grip on this emotion.
i had to “let it go!” i could not sleep on it one more night. this was difficult because i wanted justice.
Or rather i had convinced myself that justice was the reason i needed to hold on so tightly. the reality is that i had been harbouring a desire for revenge.
i also cherished ill-will against the person and not the action.
i started by making a list of appropriate responses; speak kindly or don’t speak at all; make maintaining peace a top priority; listen more carefully to what was being said and not what i perceived as being said; take a “time out” if i felt my anger levels rising; and no matter the action-forgive and release quickly (stop rehearsing how i had been wronged in my head and to others).
it took practice. it required restraint. sometimes I had to just be “quiet” until i returned to a calm state of mind. and i prayed a lot…”Lord, give me strength!” my southern friends will know what I mean. 😎
i did get there.
if you find, your heart constantly exploding in anger, remember:
-anger may not be unavoidable.
-anger has proper bounds. do not allow it to overstep them.
-do not cherish it.
-do not let it remain in your heart all day long. let it go as quickly as possible.
-let the last rays of sun find you always peaceful and calm.
peace is far more rewarding and makes life’s journey enjoyable.