A Few Thoughts On Anger & Forgiveness

Matthew’s Gospel for this Sunday in part talks about “Anger.” If we read a little beyond the appointed gospel for this Sunday, verses 43-45, it says, “you have heard that it was said, love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father on heaven.”

If you are angry with someone, give it to the Lord. Talk to Him about it instead of retaliating or holding a grudge.

In the summer of 2015 the Diocese asked me along with three other clergy to attend a Mediation Seminar for a week in Chicago, then come back prepared to mediate differences in various parishes. In one of the sessions it was brought out that when we get angry we tend not to hear the other person’s side. One of the most important elements in mediation is to “listen.” If necessary, write down the differences and see where there can be some common ground and at the same time pray about it.

When we get angry, how many of us stop to pray about it? We are in the heat of the moment and so focused on our anger and the person or persons, who made us angry that we don’t think of giving it to God. We don’t think of going to Him and saying, “God, I’m angry but help me to address this anger properly, help me to do what is pleasing in your sight.

Before you retaliate, or get bent out of shape, or say something that you’ll later regret, pray about it. Let the peace of God come into your life through prayer. Then you’ll be able to put things in perspective.

So as we prepare for Lent in a couple of weeks, remember, Jesus is our model for forgiveness. He lived the perfect life. He helped people. He healed people. He loved the least and the lost. In return for all His love and good deeds he was spat upon, ridiculed, whipped and ultimately crucified. Yet, as he hung upon the cross in suffering pain and agony, Jesus prayed, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”

One of the greatest gifts we can give to Jesus is by our living a life of forgiveness.