Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Anger and Mercy!

"But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment."

Mt. 5, 22.

He was shouting, using foul language. He was so angry, his face was so red. His actions and his words were hurting his friend. At first, his friend was unbelieving that he was being shouted at , and cursed, and insulted by a friend. He could not take it anymore; he began to get angry too. And soon, both were shouting, and cursing and insulting one another.

Sin does not just happen; it grows like a seed planted in one's heart. Then, it bears fruit.

Anger in the heart and anger in speech can provoke further anger. This is precisely the bottom line: unless it is mastered by God's grace, sin grows and chokes, and causes other to sin. Anger when met by anger further creates anger; hatred begets hatred. Just as sin begets sin. The devil expects that we respond to anger with anger; hared with hatred. Violence with violence.

What is the antidote to anger and rage?

Mercy, and kindness spring from a heart full of love and forgiveness.

God has forgiven us and he calls us to extend mercy and forgiveness towards those who cause us harm and grief. Only God’s love and grace can set our hearts and minds free from the tyranny of wounded pride and spiteful revenge.

Let the devil become disappointed in us when, instead of responding in anger and rage at the angry tirades hurled against, we show patience, compassion and mercy.

“May I be no man’s enemy, and may I be the friend of that which is eternal and abides.

May I never quarrel with those nearest me: and if I do, may I be reconciled quickly.

May I love, seek, and attain only that which is good. May I wish for all men’s happiness and envy none.

May I never rejoice in the ill-fortune of one who has wronged me. When I have done or said what is wrong, may I never wait for the rebuke of others, but always rebuke myself until I make amends.

May I win no victory that harms either me or my opponent. May I reconcile friends who are angry with one another.

May I never fail a friend who is in danger.

When visiting those in grief may I be able by gentle and healing words to soften their pain. May I respect myself. May I always keep tame that which rages within me. May I accustom myself to be gentle, and never be angry with people because of circumstances. May I never discuss who is wicked and what wicked things he has done, but know good men and follow in their footsteps.”

(Prayer of Eusebius, 3rd century)