St. Jerome – Overcoming Anger in God’s Way

St. Jerome is well known as the saint who struggled with managing anger. Whilst anger isn’t always a bad thing, but the presence of pride which leads to sinful anger is not only dangerous to those around you, but also harmful for the soul.

Have you ever felt the stirrings of irritation grow into a blaze of anger? The weight of expectations, life’s disappointments, and perceived slights can quickly amplify these emotions. If not understood and guided, this potent mix of emotions can disturb our inner peace and lead us astray from the path of love that the Almighty has set for us.

Dearest one, what if I told you that the emotion of anger itself is not the issue, but rather how we process it?

Understanding Anger

Have you ever found that sometimes when people try to console you, they say things like “calm down, don’t get angry“. As if anger is a switch that you can flick on or off? Most times, phrases like that may even spark more anger emotions because they aren’t addressing the root cause of your rage.

Anger in itself is not a sin, and it is natural for us to get angry at things that we feel violate our beliefs, values and code. It’s not possible to simply “not be angry”, but the true test lies with how do we react to such strong emotions.

In Ephesians 4:26, it is said, “In your anger do not sin.” This verse does not warn against feeling anger, but cautions against letting it control our actions. Being emotionally intelligent means recognizing the signs of anger and understanding the root causes.

For as the sun nurtures the crops but can also wither them, so can our emotions both nourish our spirit or harm it. The challenge then becomes, how do we harness this powerful emotion for our spiritual health?

Restraining the Torrent Within

When you see the signs of rage swelling up, your heartbeat starts to quicken, you feel a rush of heat and your fists or jaws start to clench up, what do you do to calm the storm within your heart? These signs are like road markers, indicating the path our emotions are taking.

Angry emotions are fueled by wrong thoughts. Because something sparked you off, you are sent into a spiral of resentful thoughts that continue to build upon your initial rage.

When you feel yourself getting upset, remember that the quicker you say “No!” to those thoughts, the better you will be in control to deal with the situation at hand.

“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.”Proverbs 16:32

Call upon God to render help in these times and pray for wisdom. Acknowledge that whilst your anger may be justified, God knows better. His guidance will shape a much better outcome for you compared to any decision you make when fueled with rage.

The true strength lies in the ability to restrain. When the signs of anger are evident, take a moment to breathe. Close your eyes, if you must. And say a prayer to God for wisdom. Such moments of pause allow the mind and spirit to recalibrate.

When the cause has been identified, it’s time to release. Lay your troubles at the feet of the Lord, for as it’s said in 1 Peter 5:7, “Cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” This release is not just an act of surrender but of acknowledging the power of God’s hand in your life. Trust in the Lord’s plan and in His love for us. It is the ultimate testament to our faith.

Dealing with anger in God’s way does not mean suppressing or ignoring it. It means channeling it towards a positive outcome. For every moment of anger, there lies an opportunity for introspection, growth, and a deeper understanding of oneself. Harnessing this potential leads to a richer spiritual life, a stronger relationship with God, and a heart more attuned to love.

Anger is a part of the human experience. Its presence in our lives is not a mark of our failings, but a testament to our humanity. It is not the emotion itself but our reaction to it that determines its impact on our lives and our relationship with God.

With faith as our guide and God’s grace as our strength, we can overcome anger in the way He intends for us. And as we navigate this journey, remember the words of our Lord in Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

May the peace of the Lord guide you, comfort you, and shine through you, even in your moments of anger. Seek His guidance, trust in His plan, and let love be the compass of your heart.

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