Thinking about Anger

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Posted 18 Jan 2008 in Friends, Jesus, Light, Scripture, Spirituality

Lately the subject of anger and forgiveness have had a healthy amount of my brain and heart (in a philosophical sense not as in a “I’ve been angry a lot” sense). Anger examined in my life has quite often proven tied to an idea of entitlement. This concept, entitlement, is a little more foreign to me though. I have long been aware of frustration and anger in situations where something doesn’t go my way or the way I thought it should have – but this I was less aware of.

The thought process sounds like this: “You deserve to be heard or listened too in this group.””You deserve to be respected or understood.””You deserve to be left alone.””You are entitled to this or that.”

Last night anger had it’s death grip around my heart for a bit. I had walked out of a situation where I felt entitled to my voice and thoughts being heard, neither felt true. Enter the strongman Anger to take my heart hostage leaving isolated and lonely.

This morning I read this passage and as it sank in I began to reflect on last night.

“You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.
Matthew 5:21-22

Something happens to us when we get angry with another person. It feeds self-centeredness, it dehumanizes me as I elevate my feelings/needs/desires above another persons. The anger doesn’t do anything to the other person, only to me.

Freedom from the prison of anger requires I walk back through the tangles of self-centeredness untying the bonding straps of my prison along the way. The agreements I’ve made saying I am entitled to this or that.

Last night I chose to take this journey and return to a state of less self-centered living. The result: reunion and reconcillation and a heart living free again.


  1. josh w

    I’m happy that you mention that word – entitlement. I’ve heard it expressed in similar language – anger is an emotion that follows an actual or perceived slight against one’s person or one’s friends. A slight can only be recognized if one also recognizes a sense of entitlement.

    My thoughts are a bit jumbled right now, but I have been trying to meditate on two beatitudes: purity of heart and poverty of spirit. The latter seems very relevant to meditation on anger. To empty one’s self of all attachment to possessions, to all sense of entitlement, and see oneself as poor in spirit, having nothing at all but the Lord through his charity…

    … it has actually helped me to embrace a certain sort of spirituality when I am at work, especially in service, but I don’t want to drag on here, so I’ll end abruptly.

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