November 29, 2012

What Else Can You Say?

Last night a couple friends and I listened to another friend talk about her persisting and serious injuries after a recent car accident. One person finally said, "Well, it could be worse. At least you can still walk." But before she had all those words out, another voice spoke up. "Just let her be angry for a while."

Truer words were never spoken. Just let her be angry for a while. Don't point prematurely to the "sunny side." Don't move the conversation elsewhere, perhaps to make yourself more comfortable. There is nothing wrong with feeling angry.

In the Church we seem to have a problem with angry people. It's as though anger and Christianity don't mix, or we think of an angry Christian as an oxymoron.

Expressing angry feelings is healthy. Acting out, lashing out from or in anger is not. Anger can motivate us to seek out God in a deeper way or it can be a launch pad for sin.

If we don't find a healthy way to express our anger and, instead, turn the anger inward where is gnaws at our soul in its dark recesses, we will become depressed. Perhaps seriously so. Holding on to anger by keeping it hidden is one reason there are so many depressed clergy and clergy spouses. Unexpressed anger just creates a cesspool of hurt.

So what else can you say? And what did we finally say to our friend? How about, "How can we pray for you?"

Grace, Kathy

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