“You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.” ~ Buddha
There are times in our lives when we say something or do something that incurs the consequence of a punishment. How many children back when I was growing up had mouths washed out with soap? That was just the consequence of a potty mouth. The punishments that we received were generally justified and we knew that they would be coming. They were external consequences that we brought upon ourselves.
Anger is one of the things that bring about a whole host of internal consequences. The wisdom of the Buddha tells us that we will not be punished for our anger, we will be punished by our anger. I have seen that take place over and over again.
Anger is one of the emotions that, if left unchecked, will quickly take hold of a person. Once anger is allowed to take root, it begins to fester. A person that may have been angry a few days before could easily fly into a rage after letting the anger grow. Sometimes that rage is targeted outward. Sometimes the rage is turned within. They say that depression is often anger turned inward.
Holding on to anger makes a person different. Anger can never heal. Anger can only foster other negative emotions and/or actions. Anger is often at the root of hate crimes, jealousy, violence, and other social ills. Anger is at the root of a host of health issues such as depression, ulcers, and high blood pressure, to name a few. Anger is something that no one should want to keep within.
Why then do so many people remain angry? Maybe it is because anger “feels” justified. Maybe it is because anger motivates. Maybe it is because anger causes others to get noticed. Whatever the reason or perception, holding on to anger is never good. It will always bring negative consequences on a person if it is allowed to build inside that person.
We are targets by the world already. We are targets because we proclaim faith and trust in the Lord. We face enough violence from the world. Why visit more violence upon ourselves by holding in anger and nursing grudges?
FAITH ACTION: If you are holding onto anger toward another — or even toward yourself — ask God for the grace and the courage to let it go so that you can move on with your life.