Be with the Word

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Dr. Peter and Dr. Gerry talk about anger and wrath in this week’s episode of Be With the Word. They discuss the difference between the feeling of anger, which carries no moral weight, and how we can deal with anger in a healthy way psychologically that also helps us make a positive impact in the body of Christ.

Show Notes

Overall Takeaway

It’s important to understand the difference between the feeling of anger, which carries no moral weight, and the importance of learning to deal with anger in a healthy way psychologically. Doing so, not only affects us in a positive way, but helps us lift up the entire body of Christ.

Key Verses from Sunday Readings

Wrath and anger are hateful things,
yet the sinner hugs them tight.
The vengeful will suffer the LORD’s vengeance,
for he remembers their sins in detail.

The Lord is kind and merciful, slow to anger, and rich in compassion.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.

At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’
Moved with compassion the master of that servant
let him go and forgave him the loan. 

Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers
until he should pay back the whole debt. 
So will my heavenly Father do to you,
unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart.”

Where Catholicism Meets Psychology

It’s important to understand that the feeling of anger carries no moral weight. Jesus is angry at multiple points in the Gospels. His is always a righteous anger that reflects justice, as is the king’s anger in this week’s Gospel reading.

As parents, we need to help our children with emotional regulation. We need to help them find ways that they can appropriately express anger in an acceptable way. It’s not psychologically healthy to believe that angry feelings are wrong.

As adults, we often need to learn the same thing. Often, we will either suppress anger, which means it eventually comes out in other unconscious ways, or we tend to lash out uncontrollably when we’re angry. Instead, we have to titrate anger, understand how to heal from wounds, and make the willful decision not to harbor anger.

It’s also important not to “spiritually bypass” anger, by saying, almost too casually, “Oh, I just forgive whatever wrong happened.” Although forgiveness is an act of the will, doing so casually, can have negative impacts both for yourself and others.

Finally, remember that learning to titrate anger must be done in relationship. This could be in relationship with God through prayer, reaching out for help with a therapist, or dealing with the people involved in the situation.

We are all connected in the Body of Christ. Not only do we need to help one another, but those interconnected relationships affect the health of the entire Church Militant.

Action Items
  1. Identify what you’re angry about. If you’re unreasonably angry about something, look for what’s under that. It could be some unresolved event from the past. Be open to that.
  2. What about this event is emotion and what about this is the will? Am I harboring it? Am I acting out or gossiping?
  3. Choose something relational to do. Take it to prayer. Maybe you want to discuss it further with a confessor, with an individual, or with a therapist.

What is Be with the Word?

“Be With The Word” is a weekly podcast from Souls and Hearts with Dr. Peter Malinoski, clinical psychologist, and Dr. Gerry Crete, marriage and family therapist. The hosts delve into human and psychological issues that surface in the upcoming Sunday Mass readings.