Anger takes different forms. Some people blow up like a volcano. Others are sparky and irritable. Others take their anger deep into their souls, “nursing their wrath to keep it warm”, like Tam O’Shanter’s wife. This is a slow burning, smouldering anger.
It becomes like a poison in the system, turning life sour and bitter. You can taste it and smell it, like an atmosphere. You can see it on the hard lines of the face. It may be buried, but it is not hidden. We talk of people with a “chip on the shoulder”. You can see it.
It comes down to a choice. I let that poison sour my view of life and spill over into relationships that have nothing to do with the hurt; or I choose to be grateful for the gift of life and the people around me. I choose to let the hurt go.
Bitterness comes masquerading as a friend that seems to comfort me, but it is a subtle enemy robbing me of my enjoyment of life as people tip-toe on egg-shells around me. It is time to choose.
I choose life.
Forgiveness is giving up all hopes of a having a better past. (Annie Lamont). Sometimes we have to forgive life itself. Is it blasphemy to say that we may need to forgive God? It will not sound like blasphemy to God. He will gladly carry the burden of our bitterness into the oblivion of his eternal forgetfulness.
Forgiving, we are free to be forgiven. Forgiven, we are freed up to forgive. It works both ways.
Paul’s words are very direct: “Get rid of all bitterness,rage and anger… Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32)
That sums it up nicely. Our choice.