the anger clock: time to stop being angry NOW

the anger clock cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward
you can get a print of the anger clock by clicking here

Anger. Scary emotion. But real. In fact, necessary and even healthy. One of the stages of grief. You can’t avoid it. You can’t rush it. But you can get over it.

Give it all the time it needs. Don’t let people turn it around to make it your fault or a symptom of your weakness. Don’t allow people to guilt you into thinking you’re sinning when you’re angry. They are just spiritualizing their discomfort and protecting the perpetrator and blaming the victim. This is normal. People are so uncomfortable with anger that they will leap from 12:00 to 12:55 in a split second, blaming you for the sudden increase in temperature in the room. Blaming the victim is a way to shut down conflict immediately rather than really deal with the issues, which takes a lot of honesty, wisdom, grace, courage and hard work.

But don’t go there. Take your time. I’ve seen it work! When people are allowed to grieve and get angry, they eventually find their way past it because most people don’t want to stay there. That’s my experience and observation.

Don’t rush it. It won’t bypass you. Let it flow through you. Don’t damn it up. But indeed let it flow through you and just like there was a day it entered there will be a day it leaves.

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  • Pat68

    One of your best ones yet and spot on!

  • thanks Pat68!

  • Shary Hauber

    Thanks so much I will share this with Missionary Kids Safety Net, the organization that helps MKs with their past abuse. Being MKs they are to be shinning examples at all times, never angry. Many have gone through angry stages, we let them rant. Others are not there yet and are still trying to forget the abuse. Anger is necessary to realize “I was not to blame, those that abused me are evil.”

  • YES!

  • Ahh love this! So often we’re lead to believe that emotions are weak, or that there is something wrong with having them. So much healthier (and OK!) to let them work through. Thank you!

  • klhayes

    Hahahaha! You left out “You should be building the Kingdom” crap that people throw out at those who are hurting. They just assume they are still Christian!!

  • Thanks shary. well said.

  • Brought me to tears. thanks for creating, David!

  • Erik Shepherd


  • Fiona Ogilvie

    Wow… I have experienced almost all of these and tried my guts out trying not to be angry and so afraid of my feelings!! Now I welcome anger as my friend when I need him around, knowing it will leave when the time is right. This is really great David.

  • thanks fiona.

  • Good stuff. I think we also need to remember that forgiveness is a transaction. It is nonsensical to think about forgiveness as something we must do unilaterally. Saying “I forgive you” when there’s been no repentance is like saying “I’ll marry you” when there’s been no proposal. Doesn’t mean we become bitter. We must eventually let some wrongs go and leave them in God’s hands but you cannot “forgive” someone apart from repentance on their part.

  • What on earth does “you have ought” mean?

  • Pat68

    It’s a word from the KJV of Matt. 5 meaning like a disagreement or something that you have not settled with them (i.e., unfinished business).

  • Guest

    So good, David! I was just wrestling with some latent anger from the church situation (we left ours of 7 years this summer)…seeing the cartoon (to say nothing of the fine accompanying post!) has already helped diffuse some anger! And lets me realize I do need some more time….um, obviously…Thanks, man.

  • You’re welcome!!

  • The Emerson Avenger
  • wanderer

    I disagree. I’ve let go of stuff before without that person asking for forgiveness.

  • I’d love to read more conversation on this.

  • Gary

    Don’t you think there is a difference between “letting go” of stuff and forgiveness? Letting go is what we do for ourselves. Forgiveness is what we do for the other person.

  • wanderer

    hmmm, hadn’t thought of it like that. In my mind if I let go of it, then it’s done (except for the trust needing to be won back). But if you mean that the other person wants to feel they’ve done something to reconcile so they ask forgiveness, then that makes sense.

  • Gary

    Yes I think you have verbalized what I mean perfectly.

  • Eeels

    Yes! I struggled with the question forgiveness of my father, who abused me and everyone else in the family in one way or another all my life. How could I “forgive” something that had never stopped? I literally didn’t know how to do it even if I wanted to.

    But one day, saying the Lord’s Prayer, it came to me: when I have experienced God’s forgiveness, it doesn’t mean God pats me on the head and says, “That’s OK, dearie, I forgive you.” It means I look God in the face and say, “I have done this wrong thing.” I make no excuses, I see what I have done and know it is wrong. And the acknowledgement and the forgiveness are the same transaction.

    Well, there’s no way I could make my father do that. But God could. God could keep calling him till he changes his heart. So I began praying for God to forgive him through such a transaction.

    And a few years later, as he was beginning to show the first signs of Alzheimer’s disease, he took me aside and told me he had realized how much damage he had done to me, my mothers, and my sisters, “and I’m sorry as hell.” It was the first unequivocal apology I’d ever heard from him, and I knew my prayer had been answered. I’m so grateful that this happened while he was still able to speak to me about it. I still don’t want to spend time with him, but it was so healing to hear that from him.

  • Alice

    I liked this the first time I read it, but it is even more meaningful now that I’ve realized how much anger I have under the surface. I hadn’t thought about leaving fundamentalism as a grieving process, and anger being part of that. But I’ve definitely been through denial and bargaining.

  • Thanks Alice!