A Song for Lent – Day 15 – You can’t blame someone else for your anger

To Read: Click on song title to watch a video 

Cell Block Tango[1]

from Chicago 

Pop, six, squish, uh-uh, Cicero, Lipschitz
Pop, six, squish, uh-uh, Cicero, Lipschitz
Pop, six, squish, uh-uh, Cicero, Lipschitz

He had it coming
He had it coming
He only had himself to blame
If you’d have been there
If you’d have seen it

I betcha you would have done the same!

Pop, six, squish, uh-uh, Cicero, Lipschitz
Pop, six, squish, uh-uh, Cicero, Lipschitz


From the Scriptures:

So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbours, for we are members of one another. 26 Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not make room for the devil.

Ephesians 4.25-27


To Reflect: (Anger)

The reflections this week are about some of the classic ‘deadly sins’ of the faith.  How we can fall into them and ways to avoid them.

For me, speaking as an experienced sinner well-versed in the nuances of self-justification, anger is the most deadly of the seven deadly sins. It is not the anger itself that is so deadly, we know even Jesus was angry, but what we use the extra passion and energy gives us to achieve that can be so very destructive.

Personally, I have been in its grip too many times with disastrous and hurtful consequences for those close to me that I cannot begin to think about following the advice from Ephesians.  I do not trust myself to even attempt to follow the advice of ‘Be angry but do not sin’, as I know I have a very short fuse.

Of course, like the ‘six murderesses of Cook County’ dancing their lethal Chicagotango in jail, I have plenty of excuses for my giving in to anger and am an expert in twisting and turning the chorus ‘he had it coming’ to suit my own endsThe reason for my anger and the damage it causes is, of course, always everybody and anybody’s fault except mine!

When I feel anger rising within me I try to remember to ask myself why it is I am angered.  If I forget to do that my anger often bursts out in destructive actions with consequences that require much time to repair.  If instead I ask myself ‘why am I angry?’ I find I can make a more appropriate and helpful response.

In asking my anger ‘why?’ I have discovered, instead of rage, sadness pity and sympathy, a desire to help, a decision to change my attitudes, and a commitment to work with others instead of against them.

Instead of ‘throwing my toys out of the pram’ I am gradually learning to share them with others who then share their toys with me. That way everybody wins.

This is not an easy battle to fight with yourself, blame giving is so much easier and makes you instantly feel better.  But acting in haste, as always provides, plenty of time to repent at leisure.

A Handy Hint:  one of the ways in which anger strikes first and hardest time-is-wise-teacher-popular-expression-about-experience-hourglass-on-table_rezgpj-adx_thumbnail-small09today is in the world of cyberspace.  Words are posted on Facebook, tapped out on Twitter, circulated in emails before our brains have often fully thought things through – there are several stellar examples of celebrities and even national leaders who fall foul of this.  If you find yourself to be of this kidney why not buy an old fashioned egg timer?  If you have one that takes 30 seconds to a minute for its sands to run out and set it running every time you write ‘that’ email before hitting ‘Send’ you may find your world a calmer more helpful place to live.


To Pray:

Lord, you see my sins more clearly
than I can myself
you know when I am untruthful
and when I think evil of others.
You see my anger
and unfairness to my friends.
You know how hard it is for me to forgive.

Lord, you know
when I am indifferent
to your Word, the Bible;
how often I forget to pray;
the times I come unwillingly

to worship;
and yet I turn to you,
when I am in trouble.

Lord, I have sinned,
without considering
how much you love me.
Forgive me and make me clean,

so that I can obey your call
to take up your cross
and follow you.

Maureen Edwards, Kenya


To Do:

1)    Make an apology to those who were around you the last time you threw all your toys out of the pram.

2)  Work out what it is within you that triggers anger most frequently and most intently and ask God for grace to recognise it early and act on it in helpful and not harmful ways.

Encore: Click on song title to watch a video

All That Jazz has to be the encore from Chicago. An iconic song it encapsulates the euphemisms that we use for temptation and, instead of blaming another person for our actions, we can put our failings down to ‘everybody else was joining in…’


Prayers are from ‘Prayers Encircling the World’ and are copyright © SPCK: 1998.
Scripture quotations are copyright © New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
These Reflections, ‘A Song for Lent – 40 Days in the West End’ are copyright © Andrew Dotchin 2018