Anger: At What Price?
© Betty Sue Eaton
The story goes that a certain movie star had a terrible temper and would totally lose control
of her behavior throwing extremely destructive tantrums. She would throw things, smash
others, and in general, break up anything she could get her hands on regardless of value.
One day her father decided to channel her anger by giving her an alternative to destruction
of the household:  When you lose control, take a sharp axe, go out into the yard and chop
on a tree until the anger subsides. It is reported that within a very short time, all the trees on
the property were felled!  She always retained her fiery temper, but found ways to work it
out without hurting anyone or anything.

Often, the death of a loved one results in our unresolved anger. It is true that anger is one of
the five stages of grieving, but properly understood and managed, we pass through it and
lay it aside. But what generates that feeling of anger? Blame? Loss of control of the situation
that took our loved one? Resentment that someone or something took our loved one without
permission? People even become angry with the one who was lost for leaving.

Anger is far too costly to our physical and spiritual well being for us to harbor as it debilitates
our soul if kept too long. In most other emotions, there is a reward of some kind, a positive
change and growth. Grief elicits empathy or sympathy resulting in some form of comfort for
the aggrieved. Anxiety often brings some attempt to reassure us by friends and family.
Abandonment brings again assurance that we have not really been abandoned by our lost
loved one nor close associates, rather that we are intimately experiencing a sense of
profound loss. Sooner or later, we come to accept the loss and move forward with our lives.
Anger is the only stage of grief that brings no reward as people around us want no part of
that emotion.

When gripped in the throes of anger, we lose track of sanity, of rationality, of the ability to
reason. We tend to obsess on the anger and the cause of it as perceived by our
upside-down thinking. In that frame of mind, we often act in a negative way causing more
hurt to the family of the lost loved one as well as to ourselves. What sense does it make to
blame the car that killed my youngest daughter? Does it make any sense to be angry at the
cancer that took the life of my only son? Or the bicycle that malfunctioned and ended the life
of my niece? And what about old age infirmities that took our parents' lives? It's easy to see
that in none of these instances is there a sane thought for not one of them has any
possibility of responding to our misplaced anger, nor change the situation one whit!

The only sane thing we can do when experiencing an unreasonable anger is to think
through it calmly to determine where it is rooted, to what purpose it can be applied, and the
end result of the emotion to ourselves and those we are close to. At best, anger is a taker of
constructive thought to the one holding on to it; and if kept controlled in that person, it may
not harm others. Moreover, if anger is held on to, it will diminish our faith that God is
ultimately responsible for the loss of our loved one. It is His life plan for the one lost; our
lives are His to control to grant more time here on earth or to reach the ultimate end
according to His plan. Because He gave us a free will to choose our own paths every day,
He may not necessarily have caused the situation that took our loved one, but He has the
power to have stopped it if His plans for us were not yet fulfilled.

In Ecclesiastes 7:9-11, we are taught "Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger rests
in the bosom of fools. Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than
these days? For thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this. Wisdom is good with an
inheritance: and by it there is profit to them that see the sun". God is telling us not to
question good days versus bad days as all days are His to create, and His judgment is not
open to questioning but is final, and He wishes us to understand (see the sun).

What, then, we must do is to pray for understanding and forgiveness of the one or thing
causing this great distress in our souls resulting in unresolved anger, for  I know in my heart
and from God's word that anger is Satan's device to separate us from God, our Father, and
our loved ones for eternity.


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