I believe that anger stifles creativity. Maybe other artists have created great works fueled by passionate feelings, but anger builds a wall in me where I cannot reach anything imaginative or creative. The dictionary defines anger as “a feeling of displeasure and belligerence aroused by a wrong.” I think anger is a condition of helplessness seared with fury and injustice; something that can only be resolved by forgiveness.
Several weeks ago, I had one those experiences that while it’s actually happening, you feel as if you’re outside events observing the process. Someone important in my life did something that hurt me and made me angry. Not wanting to waste time sulking, I told this person how I felt and mentioned that an apology would clear the air. Though this person listened to what I had to say, no comments or apology were forthcoming.
So the scenario I’d hoped to avoid became reality. I tried to carry on with my activities as if nothing had happened, but every time I put pen to paper my thoughts immediately strayed back to the encounter. After many frustrating hours of producing next-to-nothing, I knew that needed to become proactive. I felt there were three courses of action I could take.
1) Retaliate – A popular option for some, but would only breed more negativity and goes against my life scripture – Ephesians 4:29 – Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.
2) Become Depressed – All my life I’ve heard it said that depression is anger turned inwards. Been there, done that. Not a happy place. Too difficult to encourage people from there.
3) Forgive – The most affirmative of the choices, but also the most difficult. Why? Because I would have to let go of the feelings in me that claimed the person that hurt me still owed me something.
I chose forgiveness. This is the process that helped me bring down the wall.
1) Letting go – I had to consider – was I holding onto the anger because I believed the hurtful comments might actually be true? Yes! I had to remind myself the reality is that there are only two people who get to determine the truth about who and what I am – me & God. No one else should have that power.
2) Affirmation – With that in mind, I considered exactly who I am – God’s words and the truths that I know about myself. This process shrunk the insult to a much less threatening size.
3) Forgiveness – the actual act of it. No, I didn’t go back to that person and say ‘I forgive you,’ but I did utter those words many times during the day as I ‘prayed unceasingly’ for peace and for understanding.
Did it work? Absolutely. It does every time. How long it takes depends on how long I choose to hold on to the words and actions of others. In this situation, it was about a day before I was writing again. And it wasn’t long before I was peaceful enough to consider working on that particular relationship with a clear head that wasn’t focused just on getting what I needed.