Handling Anger Issues

There have been periods in my life where I had what is called a short temper. It wouldn’t take much to set me off. Part of that time I would get into physical fights with other boys. At that time I was probably about 12 or so.

I understand a little of the older son in Jesus’ parable of the man with two sons. Yesterday I talked about the younger son and his father and whether the father condoned the son. Today, I thought I’d look at the older son. The one, like my friend, who became angry out of some sense of justice gone awry.

We meet many people who call themselves Christians, yet they are judgmental, angry, almost bitter people. They seemingly love telling other  people their faults and relish the thought that other people are going to “roast in Hell.”

The father’s response to the older son was, in effect, calm down and look with perspective. Your brother was wrong. But that is in the past. He has come back to the family, and for that we rejoice.

Often, anger issues are personal issues. I see so much anger buried in Facebook posts that I sometimes stop and grieve for the people. Sometimes, we all need to stop and get a new perspective.

Once, when I was perhaps around 12, I was fighting another kid. Who knows why anymore. In my era, that’s what boys did. But I had one of those “out of body” experiences that the psychologist Roberto Assagioli taught that we should cultivate, where I was outside my physical body looking at the situation, and I thought, “Why am I doing this? This is stupid.” And I never did that again.

A life of meditation has calmed my emotions. In the past 20 years, there have only been two people who had the ability to get through that and touch that anger nerve. The last time was about five years ago, and I remember it vividly. That event serves as a reminder that I haven’t arrived at perfection, yet.

If you find yourself getting worked up about other people (whether it is a real person or a type of people), remember what Jesus had the father (representing God) in the story counsel. Take a deep breath, step back mentally, gain perspective, then love the other. Not condone, but love.

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