Anger in Itself is Not Bad

I’ve always had a problem with anger, both on the sense of my short temper, and in my reactions to it. As a child, I was frequently berated for it, and, as such, I conditioned myself to expect that it was wrong inandof itself. Anger = punishment.

I believe that is the root of the depression and constant sadness that haunted me as a child, and trailed behind me as a youth. Anger is the monster that turns us into carbonated drinks or makes us eat away at ourselves, turning our anger inwards. I was one of the latter types. My hate = my fault = my punishment, you see.

As my RCIA leader said very wisely: “the feeling of hating one’s own anger is more likely a trick from the Devil.”

Now, I’ve been taught different. It’s not the anger that is the human sin, for we are flawed and we experience emotion as part of that fundamental flaw, but what we do, our actions, that make our sin.

In our RCIA session this week, we are still discussing Jesus as Word and Flesh and meaningful existant; we read through extracts of scripture and broke them into our personal and general interpretations and what we liked and thought difficult about them, be that giving when we have little to give, or being humble when the world around us is bold and self-loving.

I am blessed for having been there, for that discussion made me realise something that, though I’ve slowly become accustomed to, I’d not fully accepted: I am allowed to be angry with other people, I am allowed to be displeased and offended.

I’d understood that idea when I began to forgive myself (and this, I believe, must have been shortly before or after I made the decision to become a Catholic), but I’d never felt it.

The spirit entered us that session. I am so thankful that my eyes have been opened to this.

To finish, a thought considering the Pharisee and the taxi collector: Salvation cannot be earned.

(In a related, apt post, today is the eighteenth of February, which is the annual day of self-harm, depression and that lot. People are gathering, telling tales and supporting each other over those bumps in our lives. The Light shall come.)

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