"Holding on to anger is like holding hot coals you intend to throw at someone - you're the only one who gets burned."
"Anger is an acid that does more harm to the vessel in which it is stored
than to anything on which it is poured."
All of the above quotes, in a variety of similar iterations, have variously been attributed to The Buddha, Mark Twain, Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca, 12-Step programming, and any number of contemporary authors. It is often difficult to pin down the actual origin of an epigrammatic expression especially when widely quoted. Nonetheless, whoever said them first, the consensus of the above seems to be that anger is more dangerous to yourself than others. Anger that escalates to rage and/or combines with desperation, however, is certainly dangerous for everyone.
But not all anger is bad or dangerous - it's quite appropriate, justified, when it's directed at or a result of loss, injustice, discrimination, political decisions, economic hardship, and so on. How we use our anger, how we respond may make the difference between poisoning ourselves and resolving an issue. Thoughtful response rather than impulsive reaction? Some days are better than others.
There are days when I want You to be Your Old Testament Self - smiting and plaguing, wrathful and condemning, thundering, destructive, and vengeful, oh my! That gives me permission, sort of, to impose the eye for eye/tooth for tooth thing as I plot my revenge against a perceived enemy. But mostly, I want - and need - Your New Testament Self in the form of Jesus who relieves my angst and anger and shows me a quieter yet equally satisfying path. For today, I'll give up attempting to bend my part of the world to my will by just being angry. I'll take on seeking more positive outlets to right injustice, overcome discrimination, promote understanding, and be involved with political organizing to resolve the larger issues that affect us all. I'll also work toward calming my inner upsets, examining the why and how of what bothers me, and continuing my quest for inner peace. I'll pray for the guidance and blessing of the Holy Spirit, the support and friendship of a loving community of faith, and the collective wisdom and love of family and close friends. Oh, and I'll work on what I'm saying in the car while I'm driving. amen.
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