Last evening I was told I was a topic of discussion on Actscelerate.com. Against my better judgment I looked to see what was being said. To my surprise some members of that discussion group had been reviewing my Facebook page and my blog. The statement that captured my attention was an assertion (not negative in tone) that I was angry about the vote on women’s ordination at the General Assembly. My surprise was that it was stated in the present tense as though I remain angry. Yes, I posted on August 2 (two days after I got home from the Assembly) an essay on anger in which I stated that because of my involvements at the General Assembly I had largely disengaged from the proceedings requiring me to deal with them after the fact. I identified some specific issues I was angry about. But the essay was aimed at understanding and dealing properly with anger. I did not consider myself to be venting about the things that had angered me.
For the record, I do not live in a state of anger. My anger about the things that happened at the Assembly subsided after posting that essay, which was the message and intent of the essay. During the week-and-one-half since I posted that piece I have been angry about other things: a serial killer, a missing child in California, being lied to and manipulated, etc. In each case the anger subsided quickly, perhaps too quickly in the first two incidents.
I am amazed at how long people on Actscelerate.com have kept this discussion going. I have been offended by some of the things said about Cheryl. The string on her continues to grow almost two weeks after it began. In my opinion, a couple of the comments have been slanderous, presumptively denigrating her in terms of attitude, emotions, demeanor, etc. [I suspect that comment will end up on the discussion board.] I have no problem confessing that each new attack on her is troubling for me. However, for the most part my response is not anger. After the initial jolt, I am more amused than I am angry. I wish the video was available; it would reveal her demeanor and vindicate her honor.
I choose to not live in a state of anger. I do this for my own well being. It just isn’t healthy to maintain anger. While I do not fully agree with the ancient text “The Shepherd of Hermas” which challenges Christians to rid themselves of all anger because prayers mingled with anger cannot ascend into the presence of God, I have found anger to not fit well with the adoration due Him.
Not all anger is sin. It is sometimes sin to not be angry. But anger that might at first have brought clarity of thought and energy to action, will soon drain our strength and blur our perceptions. Anger that lingers attaches itself to the soul and becomes bitterness. The offense that precipitated the anger becomes an open wound fused to the human spirit. And when bitterness is fully formed it becomes a bottomless pit, a starving beast that cannot be satisfied. Such bitterness shackles the self to past wrongs in a manner that prohibits forgiveness and denies healing.
I will not remain angry long lest it hinder my walk with God and destroy my soul. I believe the Spirit of the Living God who searches the depths of our being and knows all things, prays for us and ministers grace and truth to us. Thus, we are made to conform to the likeness of the image of Christ. Joined to Him, His affections become our affections, His suffering our suffering, His love our love, His anger our anger. None of these can exist when our affections are focused on our selves which is exactly where abiding anger places them.
August 12, 2010