Man today lives under such overwhelming pressure that his nerves are strained to the limit, and even the slightest provocation arouses in him the sin of anger.
Causes for anger could be the child who does not listen to us, or the husband or wife who contradicts us, or the driver who cuts us off with his car, or only seems to us to cut us off, giving a motive for us to be roused to anger.
Even if, through self-restraint, our anger is not outwardly expressed or is not heard by the one who provoked it, it is still a sin, because it harms our soul and our heart It is an action against one’s own self, under the temptation of the devil to be angry.
The savior warns us in severe terms concerning anger that gives birth to verbal conflicts and the use of abusive words.
I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire (Matt 5:22).
…No one thinks evil without corrupting the heart in which God should dwell…
I counsel my penitents that before they express their anger, be it in speech or gestures, be it only mentally, to utter three or five times, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” And if they say the prayer quickly and inattentively under the oppression of anger, then they should concentrate with humility upon the word “sinner,” and their anger will abate. Many of them have succeeded inn making their life, their family relationships, their relations with other people, and even their interior life change for the better.
All the conflicts in the world have their origin in unabated anger. One is angry and wounds the other, who then responds with greater violence and strength. Once this chain is begun, it cannot be stopped except through the appeal of prayer––genuine prayer.
The Name of Jesus is sweet to utter. It casts our the demons and brings the angels back into the heart, into the mind, and you will bear yourself in meekness before others.
Fr. George Calciu (1925-2006) a great Romanian Orthodox confessor and spiritual father.
Excerpts from article “A Word on Anger” in The Orthodox Word No.261