Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Anger Kills

You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.' But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, 'Raca!' shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, 'You fool!' shall be in danger of hell fire. (Matthew 5:21-22)

Once, there was a man I just couldn’t stand. Couldn’t avoid him, either, as he was the pastor of the Episcopal parish I attended. I think I was quite angry at him, although I cannot now remember why. I always did, however, take care to be cordial to him, never to speak behind his back, never to betray any of my bitter feelings.

In due course, we somehow managed to become good friends, enough so that one day I confessed to him my former feelings.

“You almost killed me!” was his response.

I was floored. “WHAT?” I thought I had never let on a single thing.

“Oh, yes, you almost killed me!”

Anger directed at persons and murder really are the same thing, even if they do have two ways of existing, inner and outer.

And the saddest thing is that the person anger kills the most quickly, most surely, is the holder of it, not the one at whom he aims his wrath. The true target, the devil’s target, is the angry one.

It is essential and urgent for our own survival as authentic human beings to wage all-out war against our angers and resentments. It is all-important to stop nursing them, to stop even thinking about them, to starve them of attention, to cry out to God to heal us of this lethal condition. Yes, lethal. Jesus’ own teaching.

Anger or resentment excludes us from blessedness; in heaven, there is no room for any hint of either.


DebD said...

Anastasia. One of my favorite author's has a quote on anger than someone has quite creatively put to a YouTube video. I think you will appreciate it:

Frederick Buechner on Anger

Hope you are well.

Anonymous said...

This is something I struggle with on a daily basis. My husband made an interesting comment just this past week. Both of my parents tend to get angry easily, and my husband said that their angers have converged in me. Not really a compliment (he wasn't trying to be mean), but it put things into perspective. Thanks for sharing this!

Tony said...

The hardest part of letting go of anger is admitting that the anger is a fault on your part.