Channeling Anger into a Transforming Force

Blog by Associate Colette Parker

I saw something recently that made my blood boil – a video surveillance tape showing a 71-year-old man being attacked by two teenagers.

The footage shows the septuagenarian walking along a street when the hoodlums approach and kick him, knocking him to the ground. When the man (wearing a Sikh turban) gets up, he is kicked again and knocked to the ground, where his turban falls off his head. Then one of the ruffians kicks him multiple times while he is on the ground and spits on him. The two then walk away.

What a hateful, repulsive, horrific, abominable, repugnant display of human behavior.

Although I felt justified in being incensed, I began to slip into the belief that anger is bad and that I needed to get it under control.

As I examined this inner conflict, I considered how our goal as spiritual beings is to live life in peace and love and I acknowledged the reality that there are situations that push our buttons.

The truth is that as spiritual beings, part of our journey includes experiencing the diverse complexities of human emotions, including anger. I concluded that anger is not always a bad thing. In fact, some anger can actually be healthy and constructive.

Yes, it is true that anger can hurt us, but it is also true that anger can unleash what it really feels like to care. Healthy anger can help us ascertain our truth and take a stand for what we value.

I concluded that my anger was a healthy response to injustice, an instinctive response to unfairness. My anger was a form of protest to the unfair treatment (or abuse) of the man –Sahib Singh Natt. It was the unfairness, or injustice, that provoked my anger, or indignation. Therefore, the anger was not the problem. The injustice that provoked the anger was the problem.

My anger revealed that I value the humane, fair, and just treatment of others.

When anger tells us that something is wrong, it also provides the energy to make it right. My anger moved me to prayer for Sahib Singh Natt and his family and his attackers and their families. And it fueled me with the determination to continue raising my voice against injustice and taking actions that will move the needle toward justice.

I encourage you to do the same.

Posted in Associate Blog, News

10 responses to “Channeling Anger into a Transforming Force

  1. Thank you Colette! Your wise reflection reminded me of another truth I once learned — emotions are never wrong; it’s how we respond or react to our emotions that will make a positive or negative difference in our lives and the world

  2. Colette,
    Thank you for reminding us that there is a place for a “righteous anger” that moves us to prayer, speech, action.

  3. Thank you Colette,
    @What a world we live in. Let us all pray for one another.
    thanks for your caeful sharing.

    Joan

  4. Thank you, Colette. I can use every bit of help with understanding how to use the power of anger in positive ways. I am grateful for the now (almost!) automatic ability to put a pause before the first reaction.

  5. Thank you for this preaching, Colette. It reminds me of advice given by St. Francis de Sales: “Your very prayers against the angry feelings which trouble you should be gentle, calm, and without vehemence. Remember this rule, whatever remedies against anger you may adopt.” Rather than feed negative anger, stay rooted in the peace that is Christ, and the anger can be transformed into a gentle strength and a power greater than any violence or ill will.

  6. Collete, your article brought much sorrow to me when I read of how Sahib Singh Natt was treated by two teenagers.
    Then I thought what can I do to help teenagers respect
    others.
    Maybe forming a group of teenagers to teach them about
    their anger and how to deal with it. Also, to pray for teenagers and their behavior.
    Thank you. Your article brought many things to mind for me to think about.

  7. Thanks, Colette, I did see that incident, too, and felt the same anger wondering how those young people learned to behave that way. We have many things to pray for these days.

  8. Great article. I recently did that in my parish regarding an injustice being done. God was good and He is being served. Thank you for sharing. Bunny O’Brien, ct. Associate

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