Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015, has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany”: “https://amzn.to/2t1rXwh and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.” https://amzn.to/2WAcfG0
Therefore, putting away falsehood, let every one speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Ephesians 4:25-27
Good morning Prayer Team!
Continuing on our discussion of forgiveness, one of the main things that gets in the way of forgiveness is anger. The predominant emotion in our world today is anger. In fact, it is even a step beyond anger-it is rage. Rap music is filled with messages of anger and hate and many young people are listening to it almost constantly. People are angry about so many things-whether it is their own state in life, their political views, and their opinion that their view is the only view, whatever it may be. We know that anger clouds reason and if it clouds reason, then it also clouds are ability to forgive, and even to ask for forgiveness.
If we are going to improve in the area of forgiveness, then we have to learn to manage our emotions, especially our anger. We have to learn to manage anger and disappointment. The antidote to anger is patience and the key ingredient to patience is prayer and a sense of God. If God is patient with us, then we must be patient with one another’s shortcomings. If God forgives us, then we must forgive one another.
This doesn’t mean we can’t ever have a disagreement with someone. Disagreements are part of life, even part of healthy relationships. But there is a point where so much anger enters into a disagreement that it makes for an unhealthy situation. The key to keeping relationships healthy is not avoiding anger at all costs. Sweeping disappointment under the rug is dishonest and actually hurts relationships. The key to keeping relationships healthy is to learn to constructively deal with anger and disappointment.
Anger is managed through empathy. Try putting yourself in the shoes of the person you are angry with. Ask yourself how would you like things to play out if the “shoe was on the other foot.” If we pray that God will forgive us as we forgive one another, then we should manage anger with others as we wish for them to manage their anger with us.
There is a phrase, “Speak the truth in love.” This means that we are allowed to voice disagreement but to do so in a loving, truthful and respectful way. There are people who build reputations as being hot-heads, or people with a short fuse. No one truly wants to be known like this. What we really want is to be known as a person of patience and love and empathy. Perhaps the greatest “art” that there is between people is the art of moving past anger and moving back to love, empathy, and compassion.
Lord thank You for the gift of another day, of another week of life. As I begin my week, please help me to be patient today. Help me manage my tasks. Help me to manage my emotions. Help me to manage my relationships. Safeguard my relationship with (fill in the blank-spouse, children, co-workers, fellow parishioners). Help us to move from anger to peace. Please give to me Your angel of peace, as my faithful guide, the guardian of my soul and body. Amen.
Have a great week!
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The Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) is an official agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops. OCN offers videos, podcasts, blogs and music, to enhance Orthodox Christian life. The Prayer Team is a daily devotion written by Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis, the parish priest at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, Florida. Devotions include a verse from scripture, a commentary from Fr. Stavros, and a short prayer that he writes to match the topic.
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