I’m having a bad attitude this week.
I could give a lot of excuses, but none of them would be valid. This morning, I’m giving myself permission to spend twenty more minutes (the amount of time it will take me to write this blog post) to linger in my obnoxious state of mind. Then I’m going to let it all go and get busy doing the work God is calling me to today.
The problem I’m dealing with is one that rarely burdens me: anger.
Normally, I’m a go with the flow type of person who can find a silver lining and a rainbow behind 99.9% of the clouds in her life. But every once in a while, anger (usually over something very stupid) seeps in. And when it does, I’m like a kid, gorging herself with too many cookies. They taste so good while they are in your mouth… but when you’ve finally stepped away, they feel putrid.
This morning, in praying through the situation I’m dealing with, I came across this beautiful quote from St. Catherine of Sienna:
There is no sin or wrong that gives a man a foretaste of hell in this life as anger and impatience.
St.Catherine of Sienna
Anger and impatience = hell? Really. That’s not good. I definitely don’t want even a “foretaste of hell”.
Here are three reasons that my anger could be sending me to hell:
- When I’m preoccupied with such a state of impatience, I can focus on little else, especially my prayer. I let my needed prayer disciplines fall by the wayside.
- Anger, in my case, leads directly to dysfunctional, sinful behavior. Anger means a second beer (when I didn’t need the first), dessert for lunch, slothfulness, and gossip.
- In working myself into a fit of angry mentality, I lose sight of Christ in the “target” of my frustration. I forget that there is a person or persons on the other end of my superiority complex. I neglect to see their side of what is happening. I turn a mirror, selfie style, on ME: my needs, my position, my being right. Even when I’m not. Christ, who should be present in everyone I encounter during my days, is there. But I am blinded to Christ’s presence. I rob myself of Christ’s love, expressed to me in every person with whom I interact. I send myself towards hell.
UPDATE: My friend and fellow blogger Dr. Gregory Popčak, author of the brilliant new book Broken Gods: Hope, Healing, and the Seven Longings of the Human Heart, offers some sage advice on anger at his blog.
A question for you: Have you been angry about something lately? What did you do to “snap out of it”?
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