March 12, 2013

7 Deadly Sins, 7 Lively Virtues: Anger/Forgiveness

We learned at our Bible study a couple weeks ago that anger is not always a sin.  It's a normal reaction to be angry when we see evil (CCC 1765), and even Jesus became angry when he saw injustice going on in the world around him (Mark 3:1-5, John 2:13-17).   However, there's a big difference between being constructive versus destructive with that anger.  Anger is only a sin when you do something destructive with it. 

So what are we supposed to do when we are angry? 

"Do not repay anyone evil for evil; be concerned for what is noble in the sight of all.  If possible, on your part, live at peace with all.  Beloved, do not look for revenge but leave room for wrath; for it is written 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.'  Rather, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by doing so you will heap burning coals upon his head.  Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good.
-Romans 12:17-21 

"Conquer evil with good."  That is so, so much easier said than done.  A great example of this is seen in the Bible.  If you read Matthew 26:50-54 and Luke 22:50-51, you can see a huge difference in the way that Jesus and Peter confronted evil. When Peter realized Jesus was about to be arrested in the garden, he became angry and cut off the high priest's ear, using violence to try to stop evil.  However, Jesus had a much better response, and he chose to heal the man's ear, stopping the cycle of violence.  

Father Barron said the antidote to anger is forgiveness.  
Forgiveness.
Forgive over, and over, and over again, just like our heavenly Father has continued to forgive us for our sins.  We are expected to forgive 70 x 7 times (Matthew 18:21).  Father Barron said we should forgive people as soon as we are offended by them.  That will take a whole lot of practice and patience!  However, when I read stories like this, this, and this, I am in awe of the forgiveness that these people are able to offer for such tragic events.  If they can forgive for something so horrible, surely I can forgive people for the small hurts. 

How do you handle anger? Are you quick to forgive? 

18 comments:

  1. I have a very quick Irish temper, but I am also very quick with forgiveness and I don't hold grudges. An awesome priest told me to make the sign of the cross on my lips (like you do before the Gospel reading at Mass) when I get heated to remind myself not to say anything I may regret!!

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    1. What a great idea! I LOVE that, and will definitely have to start doing that! Thanks for sharing, Colleen.

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  2. What amazing stories of forgiveness, Caitlin! Thanks for sharing...

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  3. Love that quote, it is so true!!

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  4. It takes a lot to really get me mad, and it's usually due to PMS! :) My big struggle with forgiveness though is that I have a really good memory. In most cases, it's a good thing, but with forgiveness, it's a struggle to forget as well as forgive, despite forgiveness coming more easily. I love Colleen's response of making the sign of the cross on your lips!

    My DH has always been a great example to me of forgiveness. It may sound funny, but when we're upset with one another, we thumb wrestle. It really works, because we usually burst out laughing. :)

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    Replies
    1. My struggle is with forgetting as well! I love the idea of thumb wrestling haha! :) We hold hands, which is also really helpful!

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  5. I'm not quick to forgive at all, yet my husband will forgive almost instantly. Being married to him has definitely been a good lesson to me on how to handle anger! So glad you are enjoying the Fr. Barron series!

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    1. Doesn't it seem like boys are able to forgive so much easier? Thomas is the same way!

      And the series is SO good!

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  6. I do forgive, but sometimes I struggle with holding grudges...this series with Fr. Barron sounds great! My husband and I just started watching the 'Catholicism' series and we love it!!

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    1. It is sooo good! I really want to do that one too! I have heard good things about it!

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