Dealing with Anger, part 4
Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion Article from


Stephen Kaufman, M.D., Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

Dealing with Anger, part 4

This week, in my ongoing discussion about anger, I will explore anger that arises from injustice. If injustice doesnít anger us, then arguably there is something wrong with us. How we respond to that anger will have profound implications for whether or not we are effective advocates for rectifying injustice.
If we feel anger clouding our minds, as it is wont to do, we are inclined to say or do things that arenít respectful and donít help victims of abuse. Our anger, and the words and deeds it generates, become the focus, rather than the victims of abuse. Neither our feelings or behavior nor the attitude or the motivations of those responsible for injustice should be the focus. Rather, we should do everything we can to keep the focus on the victims of injustice Ė on what is happening, how it is fundamentally unjust, and how we can help prevent further mistreatment.
I suggest that, if we feel anger impairing our judgment, we need to take a ďtime out.Ē We can calm ourselves with deep breathing and by trying to observe the situation in a detached, objective manner, as if we were a bystander looking at the situation. This will help us respond to the situation in a wise, respectful manner. Sometimes, when we feel out of control, itís hard to stop the interaction and take a time out. On such occasions, we can delay our response by saying something like, ďIím surprised to hear you say that. Iím left quite speechless. Iíll need a moment to collect my thoughts before responding.Ē (Notice how this response focuses on our own response rather than accuses the other person of saying or doing something inappropriate.)
In summary, anger is a normal human emotion. Our challenge is to manage our anger, which involves identifying the feeling when it happens, taking ownership for the feeling (even if the conditions responsible for the feeling are beyond our control), and transforming the feeling into useful and positive action. This all relates to mindfulness, and Jesus repeatedly taught his disciples to seek the truth and the light.

Go on to: Christianity and Animal Rights, part 1
Return to: Reflection on the Lectionary, Table of Contents 

Return to Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion