A gentle answer will calm a person’s anger,
but an unkind answer will cause more anger.
(Proverbs 15:1 NCV)

I often feel angry about the destruction I see in the world around me and hear about in the media. How do I manage my anger so that I don’t add more of it to the mixture?

It helps me to remember that the tree of anger often grows out of a root of pain and/or fear. In order to discover the fear or pain, I slow down. Stop. Quietly listen to my inner conversation–the unspoken thoughts.

It most helpful, when I ask Jesus to be with me in this. I have a little talk with him. He listens. Then, as he gently addresses the roots of fear and/or pain in my heart, my anger melts into tears of relief. I feel loved. I can think more clearly. I gain self-control.

Gentleness is more powerful than anger because it’s an expression of love. Love does not threaten. It listens. When I’m threatened, I feel devalued and afraid. When I’m listened to, I feel valued and safe. Safe enough to talk about my anger, fear, and pain.

The “tanker full of anger” I describe in my poem might be someone you know. Maybe you. If so, find or be a person who can listen with love and speak with gentleness.

I’m a tanker full of anger.
Don’t get in front of me.
My throttle’s fully open;
If I were you, I’d flee.
I’m a tanker full of anger,
Roaring down life’s highway;
My brakes are not working.
I think you better pray.
I’m a tanker full of anger.
It’s a very heavy load.
If I don’t dump some of it,
I’m afraid I’ll explode
I’m a tanker full of anger.
Unlit dynamite,
I was created over time
By things that were not right:
Prejudice and pain,
Injustice and neglect,
Losses that I suffered,
Failures to protect,
Beliefs and attitudes
That pushed me away,
I’m a tanker full of anger.
I wish that you would stay—
I wish you would help me
Unload successfully,
Not injure self or others,
Handle grief, effectively.

Jane Ault

10 Responses

  1. Thank you Jane,
    My 14 yo daughter explained that the many things she shared with me on the 10 minute car ride from school, that seemed to me like hours, were things she has been holding in.
    Wonderful words of encouragement, a great poem and perfect timing. Thank you.

    1. Thank you, Sandy, for letting me know my poem was helpful to you. It’s fantastic that your 14yo daughter is confiding in you. What a blessing!

  2. Thank you Jane! This was really meaningful! It’s something that I may revisit from time to time. It’s very true to my experience.

  3. Good one, Jane! A great image. The poem would be a good one for kids to sing! This anger gets started early in life. Thanks for your faithful attentiveness to the Spirit if gentleness.

    1. Thank you for that suggestion, Jean. Yes, I think kids would understand the message of my “Tanker Full of Anger” poem. I don’t yet have a tune for it.

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