How to Stop a “Tanker full of Anger”.

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

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