Monday, November 26, 2012


Anger is, I think, misunderstood by most people. I try my hardest not to display anger, as there is very little cause for me to show it—it seems it usually does more harm than good, driving one's adversary deeper into entrenchment (if it is a dispute), or simply proving to him that you are out of control and that proves you're wrong. As for displaying anger when correcting one's children, here I think a firm and serious tone of voice does more than anger to convince them that what they did was wrong, except in the rarest of cases, when anger probably does what it's intended to do—underscore a statement.

The place where I most frequently display anger is where injustice is involved, and it's also the hardest place to control it. I just have to vent to someone, and I usually do. In actual practice I call this confession, and after I vent to someone, usually a close friend, I thank him for hearing my confession, and I ask him to pray for me. I'm not using confession here in the sacramental sense, exactly, but it does work in much the same way, psychologically. I have confessed incidents of anger on occasion to a priest, but not for many years. Instead, my most frequent confession is that I have willfully spoiled someone else's joy, for example, by unnecessary criticism.

‘Be angry, but do not sin,’ and do not let the sun set on your anger’ are verses that come to mind when thinking about anger. The first says to me, it's alright to express a strong emotional response to something that one thinks merits it, as long as no harm is intended to others. The second says to me, anger—in the sense of the state of unresolved conflict—should never be allowed to extend beyond the length of one day. If we are faithful in prayer, then all cases of personal anger must be taken down from their crosses before the onset of the holy day, that is, passover so as not to defile it, because for us, every new day is the passover of God. Simeron sotiria to kosmo gegonen… ‘Today salvation has come to the world...’

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