Reflections of God's Goodness
Anger is a common emotion. I don’t know of anyone who has been able to avoid it in their life. The problem with anger is that it can linger, deep within. Like bacteria trapped beneath the skin, anger can grow to be a full-blown infection!
Uncontrolled anger destroys families, neighborhoods and nations. Think about the uncontrolled anger we are seeing in our country today. The anger we see erupting into violence did not start when angry people came together, it started in the heart of each individual who participated.
So, guard your heart. Anger is like a warning light. It is a signal to look further into ourselves. What is causing our anger? Is it frustration? Are we annoyed, jealous or impatient? Are we hurt? Are we feeling powerless in some way? There can be many reasons for anger and although the emotion of anger is not a sin, it is dangerous!
If we give in to angry feelings and begin to justify them, then we end up acting on our anger with words or actions that hurt others. Jesus knew that anger would be an issue for many of us. He wanted us to know that it affects everything we do and so He warned us…
“But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment…Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:22-24
As usual, Jesus points us in a new direction. He doesn’t hesitate to call us to a higher place. Love one another, He says:
“Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you and pray for those who persecute you that you may be called sons and daughters of your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:44-45
Discipleship is not easy. I’m angry and Jesus says I should love and bless? Yes, that is what he says. He says, deal with your anger – give it to God who can turn your gift into blessing for those around you. How we do this might be different from person to person, because each of us is unique. Look for ways to stop your anger before you are tempted to act on it. I recently came across an idea that I think can be helpful. It is called, “Practice the Pause.” It’s not a new idea, of course, but a good reminder that we really can ‘choose’ our response when emotions flare.
When in doubt, pause, when tired, pause, when angry, pause,
when stressed, pause, and when you pause, pray!
Good advice indeed! This month, I pray that the good God give each of us the grace we need to ‘practice the pause’ in our time of need.
Blessings and peace,
Sister Mary Ann Barnhorn
Director of Development