Like a sharp medical instrument, anger sometimes has its legitimate purposes said Rev. Jana Purkis-Brash in her September 11 sermon. Just dispose of it properly. Based on the lectionary reading for this week, Matthew 5:21-26, her topic was “Lessons from 9/11.”
“What are the long term implications of a society dominated by anger? For a family dominated by an angry style of relations? For a community?” Jesus reminds us that anger is in the same category as murder.
But aren’t there occasions where anger is truly righteous?
So much of our anger rises unbidden, programmed as the ‘flight or fight.” Adrenaline can be a positive advantage, preparing our muscles to run fast or thrust hard.
Yet non lethal slights trigger anger too. It is not sinful to have angry feelings. Feelings are not something we can easily control (Eph 4:26). Assume that anger is going to happen. Decide not to go to bed angry. Seek reconciliation.
In medical offices, the red sharps container is a safe repository for sharp things. Rather than stuffing angry feelings (which seems to be a Christian response but can lead to physical illness or depression) or rage (which can develop into an addictive need to feel angry with little or no provocation) choose a safe disposal method.
Here are four steps to dealing with anger — the emotional equivalent of the red sharps box
- Name the anger
- Claim it
- Own it
- Send it on the way
Naming is powerful.