Monday, August 10, 2009

“Anger was meant to be a visitor, never a resident.”

Why do people get angry? We get angry when we or someone we love is wronged or we perceive a wrong. It is important to realize, though, that there are two types of anger: Definitive anger and Distorted anger. Definitive anger: When someone has wronged us.Distorted anger: When things didn't go our way.
Definitive Anger would be when someone truly wrongs us or someone we love. This is a Righteous Anger. And it is an anger that is given to us to motivate us to make things right.
Unfortunatlel though, much of our anger is distorted. The traffic moved too slowly. Our spouse didn't do what we wanted. I don’t agree with the way my boss is handling things. My computer crashed and I lost my calendar. Benjamin Franklin once said: “Anger is never without a reason, but seldom with a good one
Distorted anger, that is anger when things didn’t go our way, is still very intense and must be processed. Definitive Anger must also be processed and if necessary acted upon in a positive loving way. “Anger was meant to be a visitor, never a resident.”

Scripture is certain about this: Today’s second reading from Ephesians clearly states that: All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling must be removed from you, along with all malice. In other places scripture echoes the same response:

Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun set on your anger, and do not leave room for the devil. (Do not give the devil a chance to work on you!)
-Ephesians 4:26

But now you must put them all away: anger, fury, malice, slander, and obscene language out of your mouths.
-Colossians 3:8

Give up your anger, abandon your wrath; do not be provoked; it brings only harm.
-Psalm 37:8

One of the most common and difficult things that many of us deal with personally is anger. So how do we remove all bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling, along with all malice? How do we do remove this intense feeling which swells up inside us? Notice Paul doesn’t say to burry it, put it off, or to ignore it, he clearly says IT MUST BE REMOVED.
Dr. Gary Chapman has written a book called Anger: Handling a Powerful Emotion in a Healthy Way (2007) that addresses how we can use anger positively. In one section of the book he lays out five steps for processing anger and ultimately removing it so that it does not become a resident, but a visitor. In one section of his book, Dr. Chapman lays out a workable process to handle our anger towards people we love. The two overarching themes that must be kept in mind is that our processing anger ought to be positive and loving. So here’s five steps that we can use anytime we find ourselves experiencing anger: Step 1: Acknowledge to yourself that you are angry. Say these words to yourself, “I am angry.” I don’t want to bury this. I want to deal with it.
Just realizing that we are angry can help us to stop fueling it and begin the process of letting it go. We need to name it and claim it before we can get rid of it.
Step 2: Restrain your immediate response. Don’t let your emotions sweep you into saying or doing something hurtful. Count to 10 (or 100, or better yet 1,000), tell God you are angry, and take a time-out. I always love teaching people the acronym HALT. We should never speak or make a decision when we are Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired). And Anger is a big one. When you are angry – HALT!
Speak when you are angry - and you'll make the best speech you'll ever regret.” Dr. Lawrence Peter
Anger is only one letter short of danger” –popular quote
If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow.” –Chinese Proverb
Step 3: Find the focus of your anger. Why are you feeling angry? Is it a major or a minor issue? Is it definitive anger: someone has wronged me or is it distorted anger: I didn’t get my way?
Anyone can become angry - that is easy, but to be angry with the right person at the right time, and for the right purpose and in the right way - that is not within everyone's power and that is not easy.” –Aristotle
One of the best ways of processing anger is by talking it out with a trusted friend, parent, counselor, priest, spiritual director. “Venting” to someone can help you express it and process it. But it needs to be productive venting, not griping or slandering, but sorting through these questions so that you can make a positive and loving response.
Step 4: What are your options? Think through what your response could be.

Should you lovingly confront?
Our Lord confronts others when he himself or those he loved were wronged:

At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter and said, "Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do." MK 8:33

When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, "Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?" Jesus turned and rebuked them,
and they journeyed to another village. Luke 9:54-56)

Should you choose to overlook?
It is good sense in a man to be slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11
If it is something that is not serious we can consciously choose to overlook it.

Should you turn it over to God and let him deal with the offender?
Beloved, do not look for revenge but leave room for the wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." Romans 12:19)
There are some things that we are better off not dealing with. There are some people that it just would not be helpful to confront. Remember it must always be positive and loving. Sometimes no good may come from confrontation and and we need to turn these people over to God and surrender.
Step 5: Take action. Choose one of these three options, share your decision with God, and then act on it. Either lovingly confront the person, choose to overlook it, or turn it over to God and allow Him to deal with the person. So just to review here are the 5 steps:
1. Admit to yourself that you are angry2. Restrain yourself until you can process it – count to 1,0003. Try to discover the source of your anger. 4. Analyze your options with God and others.5. Make a firm act of the will and take action.
By allowing ourselves to process our anger it will not only keep us from lashing out, but allow us to use our anger for good. These steps will help us to remove all bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, reviling, along with all malice.
Remember: “Anger was meant to be a visitor, never a resident.”

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