Don’t Let The Sun Go Down While You Are Still Angry

Blog by Sr. Anne Lythgoe, OP
Blog by Sr. Anne Lythgoe, OP

“And don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.”

Ephesians in 4:26-27

Hello, my name is Anne and I was addicted to Angry Birds. Yes, I played and won the original iPhone game – that hilariously funny collection of avian aviators who swoop down to eliminate the evil green pigs. The game is so uber popular, it spawned numerous versions, and boasts 263 million monthly users. But after I succeeded in the final challenge, defeating the King of the Pigs who stole the eggs, I rested on my laurels and hung up my slingshot.

And now, the angry birds are back with Angry Birds 2 and I am once again flinging those cute little birds across the sky, hoping that I can maintain my sanity and resist the temptation to be addicted again, but they’re so darn cute.

The trouble is the slogan that appears periodically in the corner of the game screen. It provokes me. It declares: pain is temporary, anger is forever. 

Of course, they mean that Angry Birds are forever. But it bothers me…. Pain is temporary, anger is forever. I hope not! I have been deeply pained in my life, over loss of loved ones, over fractures in relationships that are important to me, over decisions made that I disagreed with. I imagine that you have some of those experiences too. But over time, the pain does soften, and it’s true, sometimes the anger lingers long after the pain is just a memory. I am still angry about a few things that happened, even though, intellectually, I have come to see things as they are and I have come to accept what happened.

It’s that still being angry part that is a bit challenging. Is anger forever?

The slogan reminds me of what St. Paul says in the Letter to the Ephesians in 4:26-27:

“And don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.”

AngryBirds-angerI don’t have a magic formula that eliminates my lingering anger over things I cannot control or memories I cannot change. And some of it happened years ago. It isn’t really over, if I am still feeling angry about it. But I try to be gentle with myself asking God to help me soften the aggravation that flares up inside when I remember painful things, or painful times.

I do enjoy those Angry Birds, but I do not enjoy admitting that I am still angry about some things. I believe I am called to continually let go and let God heal me. It’s about forgiving over and over and over. Letting go and letting God over and over. Forgiveness is a spiritual practice, something that is never perfect, I just keep practicing, practicing, practicing.

Dear God, help me to soften my lingering anger over old pain and to be gentle with myself and others. Remind me to practice forgiveness and to have the courage to ask forgiveness of others. Amen.

Posted in Weekly Word

12 responses to “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down While You Are Still Angry

  1. Thanks, Anne. Your thoughts certainly find a home in me. I will be joining you in the practice, practice, practice.

  2. Thank you Sr. Anne. I find that it’s difficult to recognize what I’m angry about … naming the anger. If I could perhaps it would be easier to deal with. Enjoyed your article.

  3. Dearest Anne, thanks, gracias for this awesome message about anger. Anger flows through me almost every day. I get angry at God for allowing a traumatic brain injury to happen to me in 2008. I get angry that I cannot do the things I used to do well. I get angry at persons in my life. I get angry at myself that I cannot let go of bad thoughts that enter my brain, head and disgusts me. My life is full of just praying. People asks me to pray for their requests. They call and tell me that God has answered their prayers because of my pleas for them. At least that makes me feel better when I hear their good news because our God does listen to our prayers when we ask.

  4. Dear Anne,
    I read your story about angry birds twice and found it very helpful. I admire your gift of being able to express yourself so well. That is truly a GIFT. Thank you for sharing it with us. Good luck as you enter your most recent endeavors.
    Mary Faith

  5. Thank you for your honesty. Forgiveness is a process. It seems like we have so much anger in the world today.

  6. I am happy to hear that forgiveness is something that we have to continue to work on because it does give me hope that each day I’ll be a little closer to …… Thanks. Margie

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