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How to Move From Anger to Love

A note about dealing with anger from Karen Chraska:

Anger isn’t a cheery thing to ponder this Christmas Season. In fact, when the worship team first landed on the Inside Out Christmas theme, I’ll admit I was less than confident the choice was a good one. Now after digging deeper and living into the themes, I am so thankful we are going there!

As the oldest child of an alcoholic, I live into the stereotype quite well. I am super responsible. I never want to let anyone down. I want everyone around me to be happy and satisfied. I thrive on approval and affirmation.

I tried to diffuse my Dad’s anger, which intensified when he was drinking. My parents had a rocky marriage and as a child I remember them asking me numerous times who I would live with if they separated. That was a painful question because I loved them both and didn’t want to disappoint either one.

My parents did separate the summer before my senior year of high school. My Mom got the courage to leave after my Dad got angry (over something I can’t remember) and threw a bottle of hot sauce at my brother. They divorced several years later.

My Dad, who passed away from metastatic melanoma in 2008, wasn’t a bad man. He had a lot of wonderful qualities. When he was drinking and got angry, he lived out the violent behavior he witnessed his Dad exhibit.

I rarely get really angry. I would say I get frustrated with things or people much more than angry. I want to snuff out anger quickly and efficiently and move on to joy! I really can relate to Joy in the movie Inside Out. I prefer to move through the unpleasant quickly to get to the good stuff. This isn’t always the healthiest way to deal with conflict and anger. My family pushes me to speak up so that I won’t be run over just to avoid confrontation. 

Working with people of various personality types, including my own family, I have dealt with anger of all forms and varieties. 

James 1:19… "Let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger."

That is the goal, but it is really hard! My husband, Dan, watches what I call the "argumentative political"shows at night. He likes to stay caught up on current events. I can’t stand them. It seems to me no one listens, everyone tries to speak (at once), and everyone is angry at those who have different views. I think this is representative of our culture: make those who disagree with us out to be villains.

I am not a television watcher, but I listen to the radio every day. Several times recently I have heard a "Prayerful Pause." I heard a message that I think is really well put, "In the face of gentle honesty, anger often diffuses."

This has been so true in my life and ministry. I know in the life of the church I have stepped on toes, communicated poorly, been insensitive, pushed my own agenda and made more faux pas than I can count!

Thankfully and gratefully I can say when I relate to people with gentle honesty, the person or persons I have offended respond with kindness and forgiveness, every time without exception. 

I love Proverbs 15:1, "A gentle response turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up wrath." 

Here’s to peace and love this season and healthy ways to diffuse and deal with anger. 

 God bless,
 Karen Chraska 

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