As I lay semi-conscious before falling asleep I suddenly found myself in a fantasy dialogue with a friend to whom I had long ago sent an article having to do with the interpretation of some ancient scrolls that had finally been deciphered. The friend wrote back with a point-by-point debate about the findings. I thought at the time, “Okay, so you have a different opinion about the matter,” and I let it go.
Then the old “feel-o-meter” began to hit the red zone in my fantasy dialogue. My response to my friend went something like this, “Wait a minute! I wasn’t asking for a debate on Biblical authenticity. I just thought you would be interested in the article. You don’t have to prove your scholarship to me, and I sure as hell don’t have to prove mine to you!”
Bam! There it was. Strong feelings of anger that I didn’t even know I had about a long past situation. Obviously I had a “load” about his dismissal of my effort to share something I thought would be of interest. Frankly, I was a bit taken aback that I had these strong feelings of anger, especially since the experience was a number of years ago and I had not thought of it since. This is a great example of how the “little foxes spoil the vines,” as Jesus pointed out in a parable.
I would not suggest that we necessarily dig around in our subconscious looking for slights that we may have experienced in the past or suppressed anger. However, I certainly encourage examining such feelings when they do surface. As long as we do not face the reality of hidden, suppressed anger, it will slowly eat away at our very being. We may find ourselves expressing strong feelings that are out of proportion to a current situation but which are the release of those pent up past experiences.
When such feelings surface, it is time to consciously acknowledge them and seek to replace them with forgiveness, where necessary, and love for and acceptance of each person’s individuality. If you find your “feel-o-meter” hitting the red zone apparently out of the blue, consider it a blessing that has come to you so you can finish up the unresolved anger. This is part of learning to let it go!