“One man may be so placed that his anger sheds the blood of thousands, and another so placed that however angry he gets he will only be laughed at. But the little mark on the soul may be much the same for both.” C.S. Lewis.
It is not the size of the scar on your soul that erring from the truth and right causes that matter. That it is there at all is not only a stain on one’s manhood. Not dealing with the behavior that causes the mark on one’s soul is an open door for that stain to grow.
Before someone asks, I’ll tell you what is wrong with anger (and what’s right about it too). I will also admit anger is a constant nemesis of mine. I may spend as much time repenting of my failings in this area as overcoming my natural tendencies. I’ve also spent a good deal of time splinting hands and feet on guys who punch walls and kick things in anger. So, I know a thing or two about it.
First, anger is an emotion. This means it is going to happen because we are emotional as well as rational and spiritual beings. It doesn’t do a thing to tell a human experiencing an emotion to stop doing that. We don’t have an emotional on/off switch. The negative emotion has to be replaced by something…hopefully, something positive and constructive. So, don’t kick yourself for being angry. The Bible says to be angry and sin not.
It is the response to the emotion that gets us into trouble. Quiet is the enemy of anger. If one can recognize anger building…find a quiet place, even if it’s only in your head. Quiet starves the fire. Find a replacement emotion. That telemarketer is just doing a job…a shitty aren’t you glad you’re not stuck doing it kind of job. Putting yourself in the other person’s place is a great substitute.
Quiet breathing and calming thoughts of recognition of what’s happening and resisting the emotion help make way for a new line of thought and emotional response. Ultimately our response is about the new men we wish to be and what we allow the power to provoke us into being the old man. Victory is all about the direction we are moving, not in where we are at any given moment.
I want to share one last thought from Mr. Lewis. The remarks in parenthesis are mine.
“…the right direction leads not only to peace but to knowledge. When a man is getting better he understands more and more clearly the evil that is still left in him. When a man is getting worse he understands his own badness less and less. A moderately bad man knows he is not very good; a thoroughly bad man thinks he is all right…You can understand the nature of drunkenness (anger) when you are sober (at peace), not when you are drunk (angry). Good people know about both good and evil; bad people do not know about either.”