Tuesday, September 20, 2011

peace above anger

Anger is understandable, even good for you at times. The Bible tells us that you do well to get angry but not to stay that way.

Persistent and constant anger leads to bitterness which leads to discontent and even malice. A bitter heart is never joyful and never contributes positively to any situation. In fact, bitterness commonly brings other people down around you and leads to defensiveness, especially evident in family dynamics.

So what fuels our anger that can lead to such negative behavior? Ultimately, much can be attributed to not getting our way or not seeing our opinions taken seriously. Every aspect of our lives is affected by what we want or what we think. When something disrupts the flow of our thoughts (which lead to our actions), we become aggravated or angry. In some cases we learn to deal with the disruption by adapting and/or overcoming the adversity.

However, there are other times when we fail to deal with an issue and our anger becomes destructive. What’s worse is when that anger spreads to others through relativity. We associate with others who, like us, are facing challenges that might make them angry. In an odd form of solidarity we find ourselves linked with them as partners who are angry about the same thing(s).

Through discussion of that which angers us, we fuel negativity, not productive thought. Constructive criticism, for instance, only happens when the intent is that of love or a good nature towards another. One of the outcomes of anger, on the other hand, is often harsh criticism, commonly believed to be retaliation. Harsh criticism is never constructive.

It leads us to make a careful observation; anger will always lead to destruction if it is not dealt with. We cannot live a life that is controlled by anger and yet it is what we see evident in today’s culture. The world of politics is so pervasive, for instance and provides us with a microcosm of anger in our world. Rarely does there seem to be anything constructive, rarely are there conversations that seem devoid of anger. The effects are startling as we each experience this one facet within our society that is so filled with angst.

Can we escape from this angry mindset? What are the steps necessary to dealing with and/or avoiding anger in our lives? We must daily commit to seeing people differently than we do now. We must daily commit to thinking before we speak. We absolutely must do more to treat each other with respect. This life is fairly short in respect to all of time and yet we live lives that suggest we are so much more important than we really are. All of us as a whole make something quite grand but individually we are actually quite insignificant. I don’t say that to make anyone feel small because I know the impact that just one small voice can make, but the world does not revolve around any one human.

Think about that one for a moment. No matter how big the star, no matter how great the fame, everyone goes away in the end. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. We are doomed to this earth, each and every one of us, there are no exceptions. And given that clearly stated fact, what makes any one person think they are that much greater than any other person, especially in the grand scheme of things? Don’t we all breathe the same air and bleed the same blood?

Making a change of the mind and heart will take a very willful intent on your part and it won’t happen tomorrow; it will take you some time. All it takes to get started is an intention. An intention to seek peace above anger.