Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God (Matthew 5:9).
Anger is an unruly, oversized boy who gets in your face and your stuff, who slams doors and talks too much and too loudly, who argues for argument’s sake. Yet, he is your boy. He lives here. So you find a way to make it work and help him grow up.
While you’re at it, he helps you grow up. He makes you face your fear of failure. He makes you love when love gets no apparent results. He forces you to tend the wounds – hurt and fear – you suffered at his birth.
Usually other people inflicted those wounds, and anger won’t let you rest until you come to terms with them. Do you kick the boy out so you don’t have to face them? Do you sick the boy on them for revenge? Do you try to even the score? Do you make an announcement, point out that in case they were half asleep when they hurt you, here’s what they did? Do you ask for an apology? Do you set a boundary? Do you grow quiet? Do you blame yourself?
Every situation differs, calling for various answers, but one thing remains constant: The God who loves the perpetrator, the boy, and you is nothing if not forgiving. Original sin does not mean that the three of you were born bad. It means you were born forgiven. And unless you get with the forgiveness program, you refuse the company of your surest ally, God.
Not that you must rush. Take the time you need with anger. Take the time you need, if you can, away from those who hurt you. Take the time you need to breathe and to pray. Take the time you need to look in the mirror, to see how you are like the perpetrator, to see your part in the bad dance that led to your hurt. But don’t assume that accepting some responsibility means you must take all responsibility. Honor your right to be angry and to seek and accept amends.
If you listen to God along the way, you find that forgiveness is more than a simple, step-by-step process. It is a way of life. You don’t put forgiveness on your to-do list and check it off after a phone call. You take it to work, the grocery store, the doctor’s office, and your next date.
Look closely at the forgiveness growing in your heart and in time you will see that it is the boy, anger, come of age, who once got in your face and fussed for the sake of fussing. Keep looking and strangely, the notion of loving your enemy starts to make sense, whether you decide you can share the same space again or must live states apart. Look more closely still and see the face of Christ looking back with that almost unbearable love.