I grew up in a loving and good family, but a lot of anger was expressed by one member of the family. Being around yelling and anger was a frequent occurrence in my experience. As a teenager, I began to realize that I was also expressing anger, mostly at home, and that I was hurting the very people I loved the most. I did not want to hurt anyone, and I knew that it was wrong and that I needed to stop.
I asked God to help me stop having angry outbursts and trusted that God, divine Love, would show me how to do this. And He did!
Soon I began to recognize anger at its onset. And instead of releasing the anger by yelling, I was able to arrest it, knowing that this behavior was not impelled by God and was not right, and I did not want to express it. After some time, the angry outbursts stopped.
Several years later, however, I realized that although I had been healed of the outbursts, I was still often feeling angry, even if I wasn’t expressing it outwardly. I wanted to heal the anger completely.
I mentioned this to a Christian Science practitioner – in particular, that the anger seemed to be involuntary, and I didn’t seem to have any control over it. The practitioner helped me see that anger begins as a thought, which is really only a suggestion that can be rejected because it is not of God. “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, explains: “Sin and disease must be thought before they can be manifested. You must control evil thoughts in the first instance, or they will control you in the second” (p. 234).
I knew I had both the ability to discern these thoughts and the authority to refuse them. God made each of us to “have dominion” and “saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:26, 28, 31). Anger and hurt are not good, and therefore are not part of our true nature as God’s children. We have a God-given ability to overcome such traits.
I began to be more alert to thoughts that would start small but that, if not stopped, would grow into angry feelings. Because I knew they were not of God, I was able to stop these thoughts from building up in my thinking. And the angry feelings stopped, whether I was in conversation, watching television, or thinking about the day. The thoughts that had spurred the anger also stopped.
As I have continued to grow in my understanding of Christian Science, I have realized that I can take this even further by replacing anger with the understanding of the reality of divine Love. There is only one Mind, God, and this immortal Mind is also divine Love. Therefore, the only legitimate thoughts we can have must come from God, not from a mortal or personal mind. God lovingly governs every circumstance, situation, and individual.
When we understand that God is omnipotent and omnipresent Love, we see that there is no place for anger because there is in reality nothing to fear, negatively react to, or be angry about. This understanding doesn’t mean ignoring issues, but rather so fully understanding God as Love that not only is our anger healed, but the circumstance or situation that would appear to justify an angry response is also transformed. We begin to see and experience that divine Love is what each one of us truly expresses.
Although the family member who had a bad temper passed on many years ago, my understanding of divine Love has given me a love for and understanding of his true identity as an immortal idea of God instead of an angry mortal. While this was not the original intent of my prayer, I am completely free from any anger I ever felt toward him or from him. I now discern the good and true qualities that have always comprised his real identity, and when I think about him, I feel only the love that comes from God.
God is the only Mind and the only valid source of our thoughts. This fact gives us dominion over anger and enables us to see that we are completely governed by Love – that “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding” (Philippians 4:7) is all around us and within us, always.
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