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How to combat hatred and anger?


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#1 Reader Luke

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 05:29 PM

How are we to combat anger and hatred? I've found, at least as I participate in discussions over the internet, I tend to be very quick to anger when challenged, which descends into hate if I find more challenging my views, or I perceive that I'm being mocked in some way.

 

It's been terrible at many points, and has gotten me in plenty of trouble, and I've found it doesn't stay here online, but it eats away at my soul, and it affects me in my real life, I lose any happiness I've previously had, I become depressed, angry and impatient. If I say something out of anger online, I try to rationalize it, and it may eventually become part of my very mindset.

 

This has become especially true with Orthodox discussions, where I expect everyone to agree with me, and when that doesn't happen, I become angry and lash out at them even worse than others. It hurts the worst and causes me more torment when I encounter other Orthodox who have differing points of view, and who may even mock me when I become angry.

 

Over the years, even prior to being Orthodox, I've found myself to be quick to anger online, and quite intolerant and closed-minded. This even affected me in school, as I feel I've become less creative, less able to think beyond my narrow perspective. I became Orthodox because I wanted to be right, I wanted to be part of the Church that teaches the right thing.

 

I was once told by an elderly parishioner, who had some disagreements with other Orthodox (yet still attended their funeral), that he is a Christian first, and Orthodox second. Yet I feel like I can only be a Christian through the Orthodox Church, and I've come to the point that I've decided if I weren't Orthodox, I wouldn't even be a Christian, and if I weren't Orthodox, I'd be an Atheist. I've driven myself into a black/white mentality where if Orthodoxy isn't right, then nothing is and God must not exist.

 

I no longer pray regularly as I did when first converting. I haven't regularly read the scriptures since becoming Orthodox, and when I do, that only lasts a few weeks, and I find them less fulfilling than the Fathers & Saints.

 

How in the world can I combat this? I can only attend Liturgy once a week and no longer live close enough to a parish to attend vespers. I don't have regular contact with one Priest I can regularly confess to or meet with privately. I miss the days when I could regularly meet with my Priest in his office and discuss how I can solve my problems, I miss being able to worship multiple times a week and have personal, real contact with other Orthodox rather than through a screen.

 

I have my prayer ropes and my prayer books, but I just can't get myself to consistently pray anymore. It's even harder to read the scriptures.

 

How do the Fathers and Saints treat the issue of anger and hatred? What should i do?



#2 Phoebe K.

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 06:56 PM

The first thing you need to do is get a spiritual Father, wether this is the priest of the parish you normally attended, or a priest at a monastery you can visit frequently to receive advice and gidence.  The Fathers and Saints are constant that every person needed a spiritual father to whom they can confess and seek spiritual gidence from.  The situation you are in is not unusal, many parishes in non orthodox counterys do not even serve vespers apart from on inportant feasts, it is a matter of self discipline to maintain a spiritual life and cycal of serveces within the church of our home, with our familys (though i do know how challenging this can be).

 

 
As to the difficultys in prayer it is a case of persisting even if it is difficult, the writings of the fathers do indicate that the spiritual life is never easy and takes constant work, even when this is a struggle to do the most basic things of the spiritual life.
 
if you can it may be helpful for you to spend some time at a monistry to refined the balance in your spiritual life.  The other isues you have are best addressed by a spiritual father in an ongoing relationship rather than in this forum.  apart from to say that both anger and hatred are passions which need to be tamed, not that this is an easy or quick processes.
 
Phoebe


#3 Reader Luke

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 07:13 PM

The first thing you need to do is get a spiritual Father, wether this is the priest of the parish you normally attended, or a priest at a monastery you can visit frequently to receive advice and gidence.  The Fathers and Saints are constant that every person needed a spiritual father to whom they can confess and seek spiritual gidence from.  The situation you are in is not unusal, many parishes in non orthodox counterys do not even serve vespers apart from on inportant feasts, it is a matter of self discipline to maintain a spiritual life and cycal of serveces within the church of our home, with our familys (though i do know how challenging this can be).

 

 
As to the difficultys in prayer it is a case of persisting even if it is difficult, the writings of the fathers do indicate that the spiritual life is never easy and takes constant work, even when this is a struggle to do the most basic things of the spiritual life.
 
if you can it may be helpful for you to spend some time at a monistry to refined the balance in your spiritual life.  The other isues you have are best addressed by a spiritual father in an ongoing relationship rather than in this forum.  apart from to say that both anger and hatred are passions which need to be tamed, not that this is an easy or quick processes.
 
Phoebe

 

As it stands, I do have a Priest I confess to, and I don't like confessing to multiple Priests. But because of the situation in our parish, I only see him once every few weeks, and can only confess prior to Divine Liturgy. He also lives in the opposite part of the city I do.

 

As for monasteries, we don't have any here. The closest is 3.5-4 hours away. Maybe, in a year or two we will have a men's monastery, but currently we don't.

 

I am unemployed so I don't exactly have the income to travel to monasteries at longer distances. I would love to visit St. Anthony's, but it's just too far.

 

Thank You!



#4 Alice

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 10:38 PM

'The Beast of Anger'-Orthodoxy Today,  by Father George Morelli, a licensed clinical psychologist

 

http://www.orthodoxy...orelliAnger.php



#5 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 10:56 PM

If you are angry at your anger, that is good.  The holy fathers say that anger is a symptom of some passion of the soul such as vainglory.  Identify the cause of the anger and work at uprooting it.

 

(Posted before seeing Alice's link which looks very good.)


Edited by Andreas Moran, 23 July 2013 - 10:58 PM.


#6 Lakis Papas

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 11:25 PM

According to Anthony the Great, the soul has four passions : vanity, pleasure, anger, cowardice.
 
Also, Anthony the Great taught us: when you fight against the passions and want to be crowned by God, if you fall into sin, do not lose courage and do not be left in despair by the fall. But you have to get up and begin to struggle again and seek to win the crown. And if you fall again, you should be lifted up, until your last breath.
 
Devin B. please accept my word, we are all like you! We have passions and we are sinners, everyone with his own temperament. We fall, we sin and we repent. The scars of sin upon our souls are signs that the forgiveness of God is mighty and merciful.
 
I know several sisters and brothers in Christ, who get angry easily. Many times they get angry with themselves! God leaves us to struggle with our passions, as this is in our own interest. Passions that are obvious protect us from the worst, heinous, satanic and unseen passion, which is vanity.
 
We should struggle, according to the instructions from our experienced spiritual fathers. The challenge for us is not to succeed, or to fail. The challenge for us is to be obedient. When we succeed we thank God, when we fail we thank God. It is legitimate to fail as obedient than to achieve a goal as disobedient. 
 
So, my point is (and my advice - if I may give you a brotherly advice): do your prayers, your fasting, participate in worship as you are being instructed by your  spiritual father. If you can not follow the instructions, ask your spiritual father for blessing to adjust the initial instructions to your strengths. This is all it takes, just follow the "schedule" as being instructed. Everything else is the work of God. God frees us from our passions in the right time. He knows when, how and why. We just know that we are unworthy servants.


#7 Effie Ganatsios

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 04:24 AM

Aristotle : “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

Relax, Devin. You don't have to agree with others and they don't have to agree with you. Spend time in the "silence" alone with God. Why argue? You have your truth, others have theirs. It took me a long time to realize that I wasn't responsible for what others thought and did and that we all have our separate paths to follow. It's difficult enough combating our many passions without adding our reactions to what others think and their inability to appreciate our wisdom............................

Let it all go and concentrate on your enosis with God.

Effie

#8 Effie Ganatsios

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 04:27 AM

This is from the link that Alice posted :

From the Shepard of Hermas (Book II Commandment 5) who saw the Holy Spirit choked by anger: "For he is choked by the vile spirit, and cannot attend on the Lord as he wishes, for anger pollutes him. For the Lord dwells in long-suffering, but the devil in anger." Abba Agathon wrote that anger can produce spiritual death: "An irascible man, even if he is capable of raising the dead, will not be received into the Kingdom of Heaven." Another holy desert father Abba Poimen saw anger as obliterating he who would consider himself a monk: "A complaining, vindictive monk, prone to anger, cannot exist,". That is to say that, any who have such faults are not actually monks, even if they wear the schema."

#9 Reader Luke

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 03:58 PM

thank you everyone, I've started praying the Jesus Prayer regularly again. I'll try to work up to my regular prayers at night again as well. I also am trying to spend more time reading Orthodox articles rather than participating in some Orthodox forums. It's only been one day, but hopefully I can keep it up for longer.



#10 Max Percy

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 03:58 PM

One other thing to perhaps consider is writing/arguing in internet forums. It might be worthwhile stepping away from them, or at least posting in them



#11 Michael Bauman

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 09:29 PM

As someone who also struggles with this passion, the best antidote I have found is practicing a discipline of thanksgiving for all things.  Every encounter we have with others or with the rest of the creation has the capacity to teach us something about ourselves and our interrelationship with God.  That is always a blessing. 

 

It is a difficult and demanding discipline and I often fail at it, but the more I work at it, my anger lessens. 

 

As far as the internet goes, one can expect to be disagreed with, insulted and otherwise rejected. 

 

I try to make my comments as irenic as I can knowing that not everyone will agree and some will take offense no matter what. 

 

I actually like it when my ideas are challenged and I simply don't care if I am insulted because no matter what anyone says about me, they are probably right. 



#12 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 11:36 PM

Pray for those who make you angry. Love those who hate you. Love is something you have to work at, contrary to myth, it doesn't just happen, except for self-love. Acknowledge that you obviously love yourself more than your neighbor and work on loving your neighbor AT LEAST as much as you love yourself.

 

Remind yourself that God will forgive you as you forgive others. Learn to forgive and remember what happens to those who don't.

 

Get outside yourself. Help others. Volunteer. Take long walks if nothing else. Pray while you are walking. Jesus prayer can work miracles.



#13 Father David Moser

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 01:58 AM

Love those who hate you. Love is something you have to work at, contrary to myth, it doesn't just happen,

Also, "contrary to myth"/popular opinion etc. Love is not a "warm fuzzy feeling" or an affinity towards another person. Love is when you give of yourself for someone else. Love is to empty yourself, as did our Lord for us when He deigned to become man; love is to die for another as our Lord did when He died for us. So Love your neighbor (anybody can love those who love them) but most importantly love your enemies, do good to those that hate you and repay evil with good. This is Christian love.

Fr David

#14 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 08:58 AM

How are to know the love of God and love for others?  It is the Holy Spirit Who instructs us: “no man of himself can know what God’s love is unless he be taught by the Holy Spirit.”   “When a man affronts you or brings dishonour on your head, or takes what is yours, or persecutes the Church, pray to the Lord, saying: ‘O Lord, we are all Thy creatures.  Have pity on Thy servants, and turn their hearts to repentance.'”  “To begin with, constrain your heart to love enemies, and the Lord, seeing your good will, will help you in all things . . . But the man who thinks with malice of his enemies has not God’s love within him, and does not know God.”  “If you cannot love, then at least do not revile or curse your enemies, and things will already be better; but if a man curse and abuse his enemies, it is plain that an evil spirit lives in him, and if he does not repent, when he dies he will go to the place where evil spirits dwell.” – St Silouan the Athonite.


“We must pray for our enemies.  Who is our enemy?  He is anyone who may have bad thoughts about us, takes us the wrong way, gossips about us or wishes us ill.  We may not know who all our enemies are so we can pray for our unknown enemies.  To love our neighbour means not being a stumbling block to him but most of all it means praying for his salvation.” – Bishop Irenaeos.


Edited by Andreas Moran, 07 September 2013 - 08:59 AM.


#15 Owen Jones

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 01:11 PM

Hey, Devin, you sound a little like the alcoholic who stops drinking because of the damage it is doing, but hasn't replaced it with anything, and is even more miserable.  AA distills a lot of Christian instruction into silly little slogans, such as:  learn to listen and listen to learn.  If you examine the etymology of the word "to obey," it is derived from two latin words combined that means "to listen."  I suspect your problem may be centered there.  But then, I'm not trying to be a substitute for a priest.  It's important to have the experience of obedience first before we can actually learn anything.  And you are not under obedience to me!



#16 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 03:30 PM

"I was once told by an elderly parishioner, who had some disagreements with other Orthodox (yet still attended their funeral), that he is a Christian first, and Orthodox second."

 

This, of course, is wrong.  It makes the Orthodox Church into a religion which it is not.  There is but One Church which is Holy because it is Christ.  Church, Christ and the Kingdom of God: all one and the same thing.



#17 YvetteC

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Posted 15 December 2013 - 11:01 AM

Father George Morelli has podcasts on his Beast of Anger on Ancient Faith radio in three parts:  Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.  I'm going to listen to those today.  I struggle hard with this--anger.  Anger, resentment, and despair.  It might be different for others, but it's been my experience that it's very difficult to have any one of those without also having the other two.  I know why Fr George calls it a 'beast.'






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