Grace to you!
Anger, also called wrath, is one of the seven capital or deadly sins. The others include lust, avarice (greed), envy, pride, gluttony and sloth.
The simplest way to describe anger using a little contemporary phrase is to say, “loosing our cool.” It occurs when we are bitter, momentarily or for a protracted period, so much so we say something or do something that isn’t polite, kind or charitable. Or simply, we fail to be nice.
Take for instance, somebody cutting in your line without seeking your permission and looking nonchalant about it. You could easily get upset, right? Or you find out your friend was the culprit in a blackmail against you. This can break anybody’s heart. You are devastated, and one of your emotions or reactions is to respond by doing something as grave or more grave to pay him or her back?
Don’t we sometimes have a feeling of vengeance, especially when someone has terribly hurt us? Anger breeds in wounds. When people feel hurt, trampled upon, exploited or put down, the wounds could fuel anger.
The feeling of anger is natural to us. Hence, it’s one of our most subtle temptations. It could be real or simply imagined. In the spirit, the angry person wears the ugly face of bitterness. Not a healthy thing for anyone.
Jesus shows us in the Gospel of Matthew 5:21-26, how to manage or deal with anger. For him, anger is connected to the spirit of murder. Thus, we should try to avoid it. The Lord invites us to practice temperance and forgiveness instead of anger, a higher standard better than the way of the world.
You may be asking: but wait, this doesn’t make things better! How about those bad guys who make things difficult for us, and really are unjust, and mean toward us? Do we forgive them as well?
Hard as the above scenario may be, if we want inner peace and healing as believers, we shouldn’t allow anger to sediment and settle in. Choosing not to forgive and bear hurtful anger isn’t in our best interest or in the interest of our spiritual and emotional wellbeing.
Unforgiveness feeds anger. Therefore, the fastest way to nip anger in the bud is to forgive the person(s) and the past. During this Lent, focusing on how to replace anger with a kind, forgiving heart could be a homerun.
Let me conclude with this advice from St. Paul: “Do not let resentment lead you into sin; the sunset must not find you still angry. Do not give the devil his opportunity” (Eph. 4:26-27).
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Friday, Lenten Weekday, week 1: Ez 18: 21-28; Mt 5:20-26]
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.