Anger is in the air. It’s in our political climate, religions, the media, and social media. Mean speech, injustice, inequality in pay and opportunities, prejudice in all of its forms, and let’s not forget anger about loss. The loss of relationships, loved ones, health… Yeah, there’s a lot to be angry about! But you can’t let anger consume you like a wild fire.
It’s Okay to Be Angry
We were created in God’s image. God gets angry too. Just read the Old Testament. Then there’s Jesus.
Portraits of Jesus usually depict little children sitting on his lap, or little lambs resting in his arms. But his power and presence was more commanding than those pictures show.
John’s Gospel tells of Jesus acting out his anger by making a whip of cords and driving the sheep, dogs, cattle, and money changers out of the temple. Then he poured out all of the coins and overturned all of the tables, shouting, “Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!”
By the way, the follow-up to that story is in Matthew’s Gospel. After the anger flare up, the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he cured them.
The Right Kind of Anger
There is a wonderful quote from Aristotle that says:
Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not easy.
Anger can be bottled up inside. If not expressed, it can literally make you sick. It can also ruin relationships.
One of my favorite authors and spiritual mentors is Richard Rohr. He says about the pain that we feel (the cause of much of our anger), “If you don’t transform your pain, you will always transmit it.”
I recently lost one of my closest friends. He died suddenly at the age of 53. I wasn’t angry about his death, but I was angry about a person who showed up at his wake.
Ten years prior, I met a woman through a business venture. My friend who died had been a professional athlete and personal trainer. I suspected this woman worked out and asked her if she was using a personal trainer. She had been seeing my friend but stopped. What followed was a character assassination of how incompetent he was and what idiot he was. Stunned, I sat there in silence.
Thankfully, the business venture didn’t go anywhere, because as more of her character was revealed, I knew I didn’t want to be associated with her.
The wake was packed. From across the room comes “her.” She greets me with a look of total surprise and says, “I didn’t know that you knew Rik.” I told her that he was one of my closest friends and had known him for 10 years.
The next day she posted on his Facebook page how much he meant to her. I wanted to post the truth and add, “You big fat liar!” Well, I didn’t. But I got so angry over this that it caused a migraine headache. Prayer was my outlet for peace.
If you are always angry, that is a sign that something more is going on.
Anger not dealt with is a ticking time bomb ready to explode. Say this prayer. Get your anger out in a positive and productive way. Write it out. Talk to someone you can trust. Don’t let anger eat you up like a cancer and affect those around you.
A Prayer to Deal with Anger
I am blinded by anger.
I feel nothing but rage.
It is like a fire that is all-consuming, a wildfire destroying everything in its path.
Please put out this fire!
Shower your love and peace over me and quench this fury inside of me.
Remove this blindness.
Help me to see and understand the spark that ignited this fury.
Help me to seek the truth.
Was it shame, was it blame, or was it righteous anger?
Give me the courage to respond in a spirit of truth and love in this situation.
Help me to use this anger in a positive way.
Renew a spirit of peace within me.
When anger blurs my vision, help me to trust that your love and peace will always see me through.
Holding onto hurt, anger, resentment, shame, and the past will weigh you down. It will cause disease in your body and dis-ease in your life and relationships. Meditation is a powerful way to relieve this hurt by letting go. Want help? Here is cut number 5, the Letting Go Meditation from the Let it Go CD. I’ll send you the three steps to letting go.