Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Anger Resolution

At church, Sunday before last, I boiled down a 6 hour workshop on Anger Resolution to 30 minutes of sermon. I got more comments on that message than any previous ones in the 11 years I’ve been there. And it occurred to me that if I have a topic that Christians respond to so well, then perhaps I could/should put it on my blog. So we’re going to do something a little different for the next several weeks. I’m going to start off with things I have experienced or learned about anger and then I’d like to get your questions or experiences and we’ll go from there.

Anger is a powerful emotion. And it can have powerful expressions in and through your mind and body.

The first time I was aware of anger was when I was five years old. My best friend was Lucy Schultzman who lived about three houses away from mine and I loved to go to her house to play.
Her older sister had a doll with brown hair that I loved and wanted as my own. She ,the doll, not the sister J, was a little shabby but I loved her.

That Christmas I received a brand new blonde bride doll. It was a Toni doll and you could give her home permanents. I felt empowered. I marched down to Lucy’s house and presented her sister with the trade offer which she immediately agreed to. When I showed my parents my wonderful new doll, I was told I was “stupid and ungrateful” and that I had been taken advantage of. They sent me back to the Schultzman’s to re-trade.

I recall walking slowly down the street and feeling such fury at my parents that it scared me. I knew that if I let the anger out, they would both drop dead on the spot. So I stuffed it down somewhere inside. I later learned that is a typical instance of childhood magical thinking that believes the world revolves around oneself.

I traded back the doll and then came home and wrote my mother a letter. I wanted to tell her that I didn’t want her to die but at age five sometimes spelling can be a little wobbley. What I presented to my mother was a note that said “I hope you do not did.” She read it and laughed. The fury that I had stuffed down earlier threatened to resurface and finish the job. But I stuffed it deeper this time.

It would be over 40 years before I felt anger again. I honestly thought I never had anger at anyone – I felt sadness and emotional pain but never anger.

Then I discovered that anger is a part of our makeup as humans made in the image of God. In Ephesians 4:26 we are told to “be angry and sin not.” I found that anger turned inward manifests as depression. Hmmm. No wonder I spent a lot of years depressed. I found out that sometimes it’s very good to be angry. But always our anger should be resolved. In the next few weeks we’ll look at different ways to resolve anger. I hope you’ll share your stories about anger and how you resolved it…or request prayer and insight to be able to do so.

I hope you’ll tell your friends to join us in this adventure of Anger Resolution. I hope that you will pray for lives to be changed through this journey.