Pastor Albertus de Nysschen
Minister of the Seventh-day Adventist Church
for Norwich and Kings Lynn
Anger and Me
Almost daily, as I observe people, I come to realise that there are a lot of angry people around. I myself am angry some days.
What about those who are walking about with anger in their lives month after month, year after year? Not just anger caused by a fleeting incident, but unresolved anger that has become part of living and I dare say, part of dying; this anger that we find in ourselves that has not been given a chance to be resolved through forgiveness.
In reading the book ‘Forgive to Live’ by Dr. Dick Tibbits he states that research has over and over come up with clear evidence that what we tell ourself can kill us. He reminds us that our mind and our body is so connected that even if he asks you to clench your fist for five seconds an amazing reaction takes place. You find yourself not just clenching your fist but probably also your jaw. At the same time your muscles in your forearm and shoulders are tensed, and you probably held your breath for the five seconds (who told you to do that?) At the same time your digestion momentarily slowed, your body release various hormones increasing your blood pressure and heart rate and even your immune system was suppressed. Wow!
He tells of an experiment that was done with over 200 physicians, measuring their anger scores in their final year just before graduating. Twenty five years later a follow up study showed a clear correlation between those that had the highest anger scores and those that now struggled with the highest incidence of heart disease. The conclusion is that this supports the theory that a person’s anger can actually predict illness, particularly heart disease.
So can forgiveness become the relief valve for anger? Or will we see how in days to come, people dying of anger. The prevalence of road rage is on the increase. All we have to do is to sit and listen to people talking to others and you won’t have to wait long to hear an angry person. Children are clearly showing signs of anger as bullying, swearing and fighting (whether physically or emotionally and verbally) is on the increase.
Maybe it’s time to re-visit the Bible, where we can discover an antidote for anger in forgiveness and a forgiving spirit.
Stephen the martyr, while they were stoning him cried out ‘Lord, do not hold this against them’ and then the Bible says, ‘he fell asleep’ (in death) Acts 7:59,60
In Colossians 3:13 we read the following advice: ‘Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.’