Anger: Self-imprisonment

“Anger is a punishment we give ourselves for someone elses mistakes”

“You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.”

Following are some quotes the above statements brought to mind after reading it last night. Why would I punish myself for a mistake someone else made—even if that mistake was pointed at me? How ridiculous! But this is exactly what our anger does. Unforgiveness of others’ mistakes only puts us in prison surrounded by the bars we call their errors. Every unforgiving thought, all grievances, becomes a bar imprisoning us, our self-imposed punishment. It is our desire for the “other” to be imprisoned for their crime of disturbing our peace of mind coming back on us.

Would I want others to treat me this way? The weird thing is when I treat others with unforgiveness I am literally asking to be treated in the same way.

“³There are no small upsets. ⁴They are all equally disturbing to my peace of mind.” (ACIM, W-5.4:3-4)

We want them arrested for disturbing the peace. We become their jailer, we have to diligently guard them so they cannot escape. What we forget about being a guard is that we have to take care of the poisoner; clothe, feed, wash and constantly remind them of their error. We are in prison with them always rehashing and reminding ourselves why we put them there. Some we have given a life sentence.

“4. Perhaps it will be helpful to remember that no one can be angry at a fact. ²It is always an interpretation that gives rise to negative emotions, regardless of their seeming justification by what appears as facts. ³Regardless, too, of the intensity of the anger that is aroused. ⁴It may be merely slight irritation, perhaps too mild to be even clearly recognized. ⁵Or it may also take the form of intense rage, accompanied by thoughts of violence, fantasied or apparently acted out. ⁶It does not matter. ⁷All of these reactions are the same. ⁸They obscure the truth, and this can never be a matter of degree. ⁹Either truth is apparent, or it is not. ¹⁰It cannot be partially recognized. ¹¹Who is unaware of truth must look upon illusions.” (ACIM, M-17.4:1-11)

5. (5) I am never upset for the reason I think.

²I am never upset for the reason I think because I am constantly trying to justify my thoughts. ³I am constantly trying to make them true. ⁴I make all things my enemies, so that my anger is justified and my attacks are warranted. ⁵I have not realized how much I have misused everything I see by assigning this role to it. ⁶I have done this to defend a thought system that has hurt me [i.e. punished and passed judgment then imprisoned me], and that I no longer want. ⁷I am willing to let it go.

(ACIM, W-51.5:1-7)

Matt 7:1-4 “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?

Jesus is not telling us, to ignore the mistakes of another, he is telling us to fix that in us which the mistake has brought to our mind about ourselves. We are in relationship all the time but what for? On our spiritual journey there are no accidents. Every encounter is an opportunity for healing. Not all encounters are negative—bring up negative reactions from us—these are the people we like to hang out with, however the so called negative ones—ones that have elicited a negative reaction—are actually encounters for healing both you and the situation your involved in. Jesus wants us to apply the following rule for healing:

Luke 6:36 “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. 37 Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38 give [forgiveness or condemnation], and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

What about unforgiveness towards our self? Our refusal to forgive ourselves for our errors is the punishment itself for our anger at others. It is a vicious spiral down to the pits of despair.

“⁸Love holds no grievances. ⁹When I let all my grievances go I will know I am perfectly safe.” (ACIM, W-68.6:8-9)

The bars of condemnation or the freedom of forgiveness? See Luke 27-42, no one said it would be easy but I have found it to be worth it.

[Brackets mine]

By David Weisbach

My passion is spiritual growth, reading about those topics, insights and application of principles. My influences are varied: books and experiences gathered along my journey over the last six decades. I've journeyed through Christian fundamentalism, hedonism, Zen Buddhism, New age thought, Science of Mind, Swedenborg, and now settled down to a world that works for everyone. All of us need everyone all the time. I also I love photography see my work on flicker and Fine Art America Flicker: Fine Art America:

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