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September 25, 2013

Compassion will result in greater health


Ada —

When I was in high school, I went with the pastor of our church to visit a man who was dying. His family showed us upstairs to his room. He was bed-ridden. When the pastor started talking to him, he became very agitated and said that the only thing on his mind was the former friend who had betrayed him. 

He angrily declared, “If I could get out of this bed right now, I would go hunt him down and kill him!” That was all he talked about while we were there. Our pastor could not get through to him. He had such a deep rage inside of him that it was literally eating him alive. I left there a disturbed and sad young man. 

One of the most dangerous things about hate is that it destroys a person from the inside. Hate is an acid that eats away at your soul, produces pain, and reduces who you are. It blinds us to the good that surrounds us. 

Hate is fueled by rage. Rage is generally a collection of a bunch of angers. When a person has a rage, he has not dealt with anger in a healthy way. He has suppressed one anger after another over time. That anger keeps building up like steam in a tank with no outlet. At some point the anger will explode and cause people to do terrible things to others. 

How do we live with anger and hatred? The starting point is learning to deal with each feeling of anger as it happens. Anger is a natural and OK feeling. 

The way to deal with anger is to go back to our attitude.  Attitude is the thought and anger is the feeling that it produces. So the solution lies in thinking. I have dealt with clients who have “anger issues.”  That is code for “rage.” The one thing they must learn is that it is OK to feel anger and keep on thinking. Think of the many times that you have heard of a person who committed a crime of passion in anger that hurt or killed someone. As they stand before the judge, they say, “If I could only take those five minutes back...I just wasn’t thinking.” No matter how angry a person gets, that person can always keep thinking and making choices he would not have made if he were not angry and not thinking. 

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