Saturday, August 2, 2008

From Peace to Controlling Anger

Now that I have worked through the Beatitudes (skipping the part about being persecuted, since I don't want to try to cause persecution), my resolutions for the rest of this year are taken from the rest of Matthew 5. For August, it is to control my anger better -taken from verses 21-22:
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
"Raca" is a word suggesting contempt and derision. (See footnote "d" in verse 22.) It is interesting to me that this injunction denotes a condemnation of anger "without a cause" - not anger in and of itself. It would be very easy to justify anger in general whenever we feel we have "a cause" - when our anger is caused by another. However, these verses appear to be addressing the type of anger that leads to contempt, derision and insults - not the type of anger that leads to defense of others or "righteous indignation".

My resolution, therefore, is NOT to avoid anger in and of itself, but to avoid or control anger that is not justified by a legitimate cause, as well as to control the effects of anger. In other words, even if there is a just cause of anger, I still need to focus on not letting that cause lead me to contempt, derision and insults toward the person who caused the anger.

I have a sneaking suspicion that I will find through my efforts to control the results of anger that I will begin to recognize those times when anger is a legitimate feeling and when it truly is a response "without a cause". I also suspect this focus will help me focus any "righteous anger" on the actual "cause" - not the person behind the cause. At least, that's my hope.


Derek P. Moore said...

Whose comments got deleted that time?

Ray, You are a kind Sir and a good man. No need for apologies, as I have always tried to remain as public as possible (my social security number is 323-80-9292). I am happy to retire my real name, and I am confident in those aliases you've yet to tie to my identity. I hope you will come to respect the purpose of the Internet, but in the mean time I must remain Anonymous (without a name). Here's to Isaac (The Laughing Man)! For the lulz, for the วท! Good News Above All, ~D

Papa D said...

Hey, Derek. I asked that they be deleted after a few minutes, assuming you would read them.

I hated writing them, but I also don't mind your comments here at all. Feel free to keep commenting here.

Derek P. Moore said...

That's too bad, I was enjoying the public reprisal (I guess it was only temporarily public). It's unfortunate I get the last word so often over there. Too bad your comments weren't constructive, contributing to further discourse. Rather, your open derision of me has probably helped to halt the flow of communication on that thread as much as my own words.

Your "blog" is fine and all, and certainly I will seek to tread where I please (here or Mormon Matters or elsewhere). You can trust that I'll continue to now-and-then click on your name and others in the Mormon Matters forums and read what you're all up to...

It is fun to earn the ire of "old timers"... I hope you've enjoyed practicing self-restraint and anger-control with me. The time will come when the Church is cleansed, and you will have the honor of stepping aside and watching as your sons do great things. (Cleansing the Church is a covenant with the Priests [Malachi], the Elders and "old timers" have missed the boat.)

Papa D said...


I'm honestly confused. I wasn't openly derisive of you; I was the one who wrote the request because I like you and was willing to ask you to comment on my own blog.

We don't agree on many things; we do agree on many others. I am fine with your comments that are on topic. That's why I said you are welcome here.

Derek P. Moore said...

We're all confused, dear friend. You are right, "derision" was a poor choice of vocabulary word. I was trying to convey the idea of you having "bluntly put me in my place" (which you didn't do by laughing at me, so derision is the wrong word, haha). I just like to use big words, even if I don't know what they mean. *grin*

Honestly, I prefer silence to verbosity, so I try to refrain from excessive commenting (the rest of you Mormon Matters regulars I would call "excessive commentors"). A few of the posts are just too excellent for me to avoid, however.

What is off-topic for the original post is not always off-topic for the train of a thread, though, and I think that's where I've mostly annoyed people. (Or with my poetic jests, for example, most recently with Bored in Vernal when I said her questions were "very boring", that was a alliterative jest in reference to her name.)

You've asked one of my aliases for smiley faces... I ask people to carry their sense of humor with them always... The Bible didn't have smiley faces (oh wait, it does: Gen. 14:8, Lev. 18:27, Exo. 32:25).