2004, Articles, Raiati

Anger / 05.09.2004

Saint Basil the great teaches us that a person must use his voice in the volume required to be delivered for others; any higher volume would be considered screaming. The Lord used to reprove but he didn’t shout. This is why Matthew has said about him: “No one hears him shouting in the streets”. When you are sitting with a person, there is no need to shout. This person that’s sitting with you is waiting for some sense from you, and this won’t be delivered better through shouting.

The person that hears you shouting would consider you his enemy, even if your words were polite. He would always get harmed from the loud voice. Any angry action is a refusal of the other, and might make him feel humiliated and sense pride in you. Therefore, Paul asked his disciple Timothy not to rebuke an older man (1Timothy 5: 1). In this sense I say: Do not rebuke the poor; they would feel that you despise them. Yes, you should reprove people in some situations, but this shall happen through tenderness and clemency. If your brother was mistaken towards you, punish him for the sake of his reformation, because you are not against him. You are against his sin because God loves the sinner too.

Anger is aggression, therefore the Lord said: “You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment. But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sisterwill be subject to judgment” (Matthew 5: 21). Anger is a kind of harming. When you show the sinner his sin calmly, he shall feel that you are directing him. While if you spoke in a loud voice, he shall feel that you are releasing your anger into him and that you do not want to help him.

You must know that the angry person usually doesn’t have control over his tongue; therefore, bad voices come out of him and his heart pulse isn’t stable and you might feel that a strange power that is not from God dwells in him. He might, sometimes, use physical violence and his mental ability might be weakened. He loses his good judgment of things, his words start attacking like large rock, and you wouldn’t be able to convince him in anything because he’d be too busy marginalizing you.

Fear the hidden anger that can’t be expressed through the tongue. This anger might be more dangerous and wicked than the obvious one.

In order to reach calmness, never speak when you feel that a power is ascending from your chest to your throat in order to explode, do not speak and stay comfortable. Immediately, pray silently for couple of minutes and pray for the person that’s in front of you and causing your anger. Forget the insult if he insulted you; forget his annoyance, his lying, his refusal, and do not return his evil through making your voice loud, because if you loved him in that moment and if you forgave him for his weakness and embraced him to your heart, you cannot get angry.

You are allowed to rebel the evil that you see, but evil cannot be healed through evil. Direct the person that made you angry to the good attitude because your goal is to reform him and not take revenge. Do not put an obstacle in front of another. Strike the thickness of the person that made you angry through humbleness that comes from the Holy Spirit.

Gandhi’s friends once told him: “Why do you preach us about nonviolence? Your friend Jesus took the whip and struck the pigeon sellers and the exchangers”. Gandhi replied: “Jesus was always humble. If you were able to be humble all the time, I would then allow you to be violent”. What is meant here is that the angry person loses his humbleness while being angry.

You must stay independent from what surrounds you and free from the evil that you see. Always think about what could help the sinner spiritually and lead him calmly to his own calmness. Make peace with yourself; this requires continuous praying. If your biggest deformity was anger, then ask God to save you from it. Focus in your prayer on this request. If you thought that the person coming towards you would make you angry, start praying immediately as he arrives. When you argue about an issue, do not stick to small ideas and to defending an issue that might not be correct.

You shall achieve the great calmness when you get liberated from all desires. The lust for money, the body, notability, power… is a direct reason for anger. When you stick to any of these desires, you’d certainly get angry and defend the desire when someone prevents you from accomplishing it. Internal peace is a condition for the peace of speech and expression. When your voice gets loud, be sure that you didn’t get liberated yet from desire. When you know your desire and strike it, your tongue shall stay away from shouting.

Translated by Mark Najjar

Original Text: “الغضب” – 05.09.2004

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