Have you heard someone laugh and wondered if they are laughing at you? Has someone been kind to you, and you’ve wondered what they want from you?
In a domestic situation a man can turn up with an unexpected bunch of flowers and a woman can wonder what he is feeling guilty about. Suppose your children start to behave impeccably well and you wonder that they have done wrong!
All these wonderings are the expression of the second face of anger. They represent a corrosive mindset or habit which, left unchecked, can result in some very stressful feelings.
I am referring to a state of suspicion which can creep into your soul.
It can start with the relatively trivial, which I have described at the beginning of this edition, but, as some of you will know, it can develop into an almost paralyzing fear bordering on paranoia.
Suspicion is a believing the worst kind of thought process, it is a reading between the lines approach which sees potential malice on the part of another person. We can see it in those who demonize others by inventing conspiracies then writing off whole groups of people with sometimes disastrous consequences.
But perhaps you can see it in yourself at work when you find yourself suspecting that someone, some group or some system is out to get you.
This can create a persecution complex in which you portray yourself as a victim and the suspicions choke your joy, robbing you of the pleasure of working well.
It is when this suspicion turns to anger that stress is rearing its head in your mind. This is why I’ve labeled it the Second Face of anger.
If this has been an issue for you, or someone you know, may I make a few suggestions which should help?
First, I suggest you find a new starting point, a new default mindset if you will. Instead of believing the worst, start by believing the best.
In his great description of love Saint Paul tells the Christians in Corinth that this love “does not delight in evil” that rather it “rejoices in the truth”. He goes on to describe a mindset which always “trusts, hopes, perseveres”.
Second, may I suggest that you seek out truth rather than rumor? Jesus himself spoke of the truth setting you free. Now the truth is that not everyone is out to get you. Most people are too busy trying to survive than to spend time plotting your downfall. So, this truth-seeking will involve adjusting your approach to people in general.
Truth, however, is not blind. There will be some people in your life who do not want to see you succeed, who may not have your interest at heart. In such cases your thoughts have their basis in reality. But over your life most people will not plot against you. Perhaps it will help you to adjust your perspective.
If you want to live a godly life you can expect opposition. Paul warns Timothy, his apprentice, that he can expect persecution if he takes a holy stand. Perhaps your opposition has a spiritual motive but this not the same as you seeing conspiracies where there are none.
The second face of anger has an element of fear about it. We even use the phrase “fearing the worst”. My last suggestion for you is to recognize that all my suggestions need to be connected with the love of God. It is God’s love which drives out fear; it is God’s love which will empower you to think differently. It is God’s love which will lead you into the truth and it is God’s love which will stand beside you when you face real opposition. God’s love is a stress reducer.
Work well today,
© Geoff Shattock May 2019
1 Corinthians 13:6
6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.
1 John 4:18
18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
2 Timothy 3:12
12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,
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