By Deacon Bill Hagen
For the Umatuna Si Yu’os
Whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment.
There is a story of a young man who had climbed a high mountain, and there, he saw a wise old man sitting in front of a cave. The wise man motioned for him to sit down and said that he could ask any questions he wished. So, he asked about the meaning of life and the wise man told him. Then he asked for the secret to happiness and was given the answer. Next, he asked about all of the secrets of the universe to which the wise man replied in great detail. Finally the man asked, “Oh, Great Master, I am angry so often, what can I do?” Suddenly, the master glared back at him, broke his pencil in two, cursed loudly and stomped back into his cave muttering over his shoulder, “Alas, if I could figure that out I wouldn’t be sitting here alone on this mountain.”
Everyone gets angry. Even Jesus got angry when he drove the money changers out of the temple, but he didn’t stay angry. Anger is a healthy response to certain situations, but it should never be hurtful to another, and it should never be retained. Too often our anger is directed against an individual who had no control over the circumstances which caused our anger, and it becomes a device by which we can place the blame for our condition on another, a scapegoat. Our frustration with our own failings too often becomes anger against a helpless and innocent party.
While anger is a normal feeling it should never drive our actions, and Jesus teaches us to be non-violent and forgiving when he tells us in the Gospel, “Go first and be reconciled with your brother.” He makes this reference to those who attempt to approach God while harboring anger or resentment against another.
Anger and love are not compatible, so do not let the sun set on your anger by first forgiving yourself and then by forgiving the other.