Anger as a Controlled Burn
Anger, at its best, is a controlled burn. Farmers use controlled burns as a powerful tool to rid their land of invasive weeds and the clearing of cluttered, useless underbrush. Burn, baby burn. At first glance, the charred land may seem desolate, but a deep enrichment has begun under the surface.
Anger is a powerful tool to do the same in our relationships. If used properly, the countermeasure of anger can protect the sacred, and act as a great natural evocation to reconstruct boundaries in their proper place. Once subsided, old relationships can regain an altered footing and a great, new nourishing can begin. Look at the grand Sequoia, like some relationships in our lives, their greatness will only unfurl from seed after a mighty burn.
Looking back, I used to dampen the power and usefulness of anger every time there was even a sign of smoldering. My discomfort with these strange feelings would wet the wick of proper passion and so the weeds in my relationships propagated. I was scared to lose what I had and, so I refused to speak up. Fear choked anger and then devastation creeped onto the sacred.
Pent-up, small explosions of anger used unwisely would burst forth yet work ineffectively. The hidden roots of weeds would remain. By not knowing how to use the tool of anger appropriately, I was allowing the invaders to accumulate over time. Sometimes the truth of our anger and the boundaries it creates can burn our loved ones. But, what about “speaking the truth in love” (found in Ephesians 4:15NIV)? Sounds like a controlled burn to me. Let tempered anger have its stringent, powerful, and restorative work but don’t let it run like a wildfire (remembering Ephesians 4:26 NIV: “In your anger do not sin…”). There is a careful balance to be found here.
God seems to use his anger mindfully, taking the greatest precision in its application, using it with the purest of intent, and greatest of mercy. Let us be the same.
“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.” – Psalm 103:8-10 NIV