Spirituality and battle with anger

Have you ever blown your top, got angry and resented the words that came out of your mouth?  I have.   It might feel good to release some steam and pressure but the results are short-term gain but long-term pain.

The bible speaks of anger.  It acknowledges our human weakness, anger.  It sounds like it isn’t necessarily a sin to get angry but it is a less desirable emotion.

Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not make room for the devil.”

James 1:19-20 says, “You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness.”

Anger causes us to do crazy things.  It opens the door to hatred, violence, fights, war and terrorism.  As human beings, we are better off to seek peace and to create peaceful resolutions.

Being quick-tempered is a sign of folly but wisdom and peace create harmony: “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1) “A fool gives full vent to anger, but the wise quietly holds it back” (Prov. 29:11).

I ran across an article on NPR on how the Inuit people (Indigenous people in northern Arctic) raise their children to refrain from anger.  A little big of frustration or irritation is considered weak and childlike.  Wow!  The writer of this article witnessed these things:

For instance, one time someone knocked a boiling pot of tea across the igloo, damaging the ice floor. No one changed their expression. “Too bad,” the offender said calmly and went to refill the teapot.

In another instance, a fishing line — which had taken days to braid — immediately broke on the first use. No one flinched in anger. “Sew it together,” someone said quietly.

By contrast, Briggs seemed like a wild child, even though she was trying very hard to control her anger. “My ways were so much cruder, less considerate and more impulsive,” she told the CBC. “[I was] often impulsive in an antisocial sort of way. I would sulk or I would snap or I would do something that they never did.” (full article here)

This self-control comes from discipline.  We might come from many cultures, e.g., Italian, Middle Eastern, Asian, Western, etc.  Some of our cultures do not keep anger very well hidden.  We can be quick to show our anger.  Inuit culture on the other hand, seems to be the opposite.  I think this something we can learn from our First Nations–Indigenous brothers and sisters.

It makes me wonder if training and spiritual disciplines might be a good thing in our children’s upbringing–and yes, also in many of us adults too.

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