Friday, June 10, 2022
Many Things Are Best Left With the Setting Sun
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil.
Words of Grace For Today
Anger is many things. Actually we use the word anger to mean many different things often not realizing that we are talking about different things. It makes conversations about anger difficult.
Anger can mean 1) the emotion we have when we are hurt by another person. It is not properly anger, but the precursor to anger. We may or may not know by whom, or what it is that hurts. It’s just the hurt is known (or thought to be known) to be caused by another person. Our emotion is the hurt of being done poorly to by another person. This is purely an emotion. It cannot be avoided. If we deny the emotion it will grow on it’s own. We can (sometimes) pause our further response, let the emotion settle (sometimes counting to 90 works, by which time the emotion will subside – if it does not re-fire from a repeat of a hurt, or some replaying of the hurt as if it were real again). When the emotion has settle we are able to rationally choose how to respond to the hurtful event.
If course we can feed the hurt and it will grow into anger proper:
Anger can mean 2) the emotion we allow hurt to develop into when we do not let it settle. This happens in increments. A slight intensification is that we identify who did us the hurt and we focus our hurt back on them as resentment which loops back on us as more hurt, until the hurt is so great it is anger. We are mad or angry at another person.
Anger can mean 3) the emotion of being angry at a person to being obsessed or overwhelmed with the hurt that this particular person has done us. We want to strike back, not that we will or have, but that we want to ‘get even’ as if that would sooth our own hurt. It will not. But that is the illogic of being hurt and letting it grow to overwhelm us so that it ‘needs’ resolution.
Finally anger can mean 4) an emotion that is past anger, more correctly referred to as rage. We become consumed by the irrational need to ‘get even.’ This feeds on itself until we somehow find a release. Out of rage come acts of revenge. Rage is beyond thinking about ‘getting even’ or even thinking. It is the motivation for irrational acts that will damage the other. The problem is all too often we misidentify the person who hurt us in the first place, and secondly no act of revenge can ever relieve our pain. It can only lead to a false sense of self-righteousness about planning and maybe carrying out an unjustifiable act of hurting another person.
This act of revenge can be limited to words, spoken or written, or it can involve physical acts of violence against the other person.
If we allow hurt to grow into anger and anger to intensify, and then to overwhelm us as rage there is little that can be done to stop it. Best is to stop it while we can. It’s not likely we can stop it later on from growing into acts of revenge. We ought not let the sun set on our hurt-anger. It only takes 90 seconds to let that emotion to dissipate.
Out anger, when acted out in acts of revenge start the hurt-angry cycle for others, often not even the person(s) who hurt us in the first place.
Being hurt is not avoidable, but the rest really is.
Words to the wise: Learn to speak soft words to oneself when one is hurt, so that the hurt is taken in stride. Learn to speak soft words to others so that their hurt (whether it really is caused by us or not) does not grow into anger towards us.
Life is full of hurt.
Life has more than it’s fair share of anger coming and going for all of us.
Life can be miserable if we seek revenge as a way to resolve our hurt that has festered into rage.
Rage never brings peace. It creates more hurt in us and in others.
We can choose to wait 90 seconds and then rationally respond to hurt. Best to stop hurt before it grows into anger.
Hard to live.
Every day is an opportunity to practice choosing how we respond until it becomes second nature to let hurt dissipate. That’s the beginning of finding peace with a world that does not seem to want us to know peace