Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Making Me Angry

This is probably a piece of Eureka! training but it can't be said often enough. You can't make me angry.

If I say, 'You made me angry' or any versions of that sentence, I give you too much power. It is not in your gift.

Becoming angry is entirely my responsibility. Whatever I think or feel about your behaviour I can take a decision as to whether or not anger is my response.

This comes out as my thought for the day, week or year quite often but I am amazed how many people I meet who don't get it and for whom it is liberating.

In my world a man goes up to Jesus and says, 'Master what must I do to be forgiven?' And he looks down, draws in the dirt with his finger for a bit then spits at it throws mud at me and says, 'Sin.'

Funny man Jesus. But he rarely makes me angry. Mind you, you should see him when he's a bit cross. Calls people Satan or dog. Then the chairs and tables go flying.

Now? What's making you cross today? And whatcha gonna doaba'it?


Mike Peatman said...

I like it, Steve.

Anonymous said...

I like that, in your world, your Jesus is funny.
For me that's gotta be a Eureka moment.

Ruth said...

Not with you 100% on this one. Anger is a choice, yes, but anger is also an emotion. You may have full control over your emotions: most of us don't!

On half a century's experience of the Christian church, I'd say it's littered with people struggling to keep their Big Plastic Grin in place while they wrestle their anger back into the box, having been taught (as I was) that it is a sin.

If I should experience the emotion of anger towards you, St (did I phrase that carefully enough?) my choice will be to come and tell you so. Nicely, naturally. We can then sort it out - ditch Large Plastic Grin in favour of a bit of reality. If it works, the angry emotion will dissipate, and yes, that will be because I choose to let it.

St said...

If only the Bible didn't describe fits of rage as an act of the sinful nature and self-control as a fruit of the spirit.

Ruth said...

Well, I'm happy to recognise that your control over your emotions may be a fruit of the Spirit which I haven't yet managed to grow. What I'm not keen on is plastic fruit.

Martin said...

Overturning tables of money changers in the temple is surely anger, isn't it? And if Jesus did this, surely there must be some form of anger that is not sinful. So, where would you draw the line?

St said...

Ruth, I'm not claiming to be there yet, simply pointing out what the Bible says.

Martin, if you ever come to the realisation that you are the son of the living God and a place designated for the worship of your father has been misused feel free to lose your rag a bit.

I'm sure there is a 'righteous anger.' Some sports people I know play right on the edge of it to up their game. Others get irate at the ill-teatment of children or the suffering of the poor. No problem with that.

It's just a bit of a waste of something that may well be God-given for the particular moment to exercise it when the queue at the supermarket check-out is moving too slowly or someone makes a mistake whilst driving their car.

Mike Peatman said...

Hmmm. When does passion become anger? I guess the test of whether anger crosses into sin is the fruit of it. Is it just destructive, or does it have a positive outcome. (That's not an argument for utilitarian ethics, by the way)

Trouble is, when you're getting angry, it's not easy to predict what outcome you desire or might generate.