Frustration & Anger and Humor
Anger is the biological wiring most closely connected to that instinct to fight — as opposed to flight, associated with fear. Anger can be as corrosive as rage or as cunning as annoyance. In either extreme, our anger more often than not is connected to a hurt.
Scripture reminds us that anger and wrath are dangerous in two ways. First, when we are consumed by our anger we often do things we later regret. Anger reduces our capacity for long-term thinking and instead serves short-term benefits. Second, scripture cautions us that anger can get stuck in our souls. “Do not be quick to anger, for anger lodges in the bosom of fools.” Qoheleth wrote in the book of Ecclesiastes (
The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu offer us guidance. The more we can become aware of those triggers that set us off, and our own participation in creating the situations that upset us, we can avoid and survive difficult moments. The spiritual work of humor — a natural and next step after humility — can bring relief to a painful moment. But how do we laugh in the love of God when we have been deeply wronged?
This week, we explore how frustration & anger can be diffused by humor. “I worked with a Mexican shaman once,” Douglas Abrams said. “He said that laughing and crying are the same thing — laughing just feels better.”
God, you are slow to anger and abound in steadfast love, while I am quick to lash out and long for a more durable love. Bring my soul low to the ground. Remind me that I am not perfect and that being cool, being liked, being comfortable are not the reasons you love me. Let me laugh more easily at the silly things I do. Amen.