Governed by Love, not by anger
I grew up in a loving and good family, but a lot of anger was expressed by one member of the family. Being around yelling and anger was a frequent occurrence in my experience. As a teenager, I began to realize that I was also expressing anger, mostly at home, and that I was hurting the very people I loved the most. I did not want to hurt anyone, and I knew that it was wrong and that I needed to stop.
My desire was to stop yelling. And Mary Baker Eddy writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “Desire is prayer; and no loss can occur from trusting God with our desires, that they may be moulded and exalted before they take form in words and in deeds” (p. 1 ). I asked God to help me stop having angry outbursts and trusted that God, divine Love, would show me how to do this. And He did!
Soon I began to recognize anger at its onset—to recognize the point at which angry feelings were beginning to build up. And instead of releasing the anger by yelling, I was able to arrest it, knowing that it was not right because it was not of God and that I did not need or want to express it. After some time, I stopped yelling and even being angry about many things.
Several years later, however, I realized that although I had been healed of the angry outbursts, I was still often feeling angry, even if I wasn’t expressing it outwardly. I wanted to heal anger completely, including in my thinking.
I asked God to help me stop having angry outbursts and trusted that God, divine Love, would show me how to do this. And He did!
I mentioned this to a Christian Science practitioner—in particular, that the anger seemed to be involuntary. All of a sudden I would be angry; it would just happen, and I didn’t seem to have any control over it. The practitioner told me that I was actually thinking angry thoughts before I began to feel anger. In other words, anger isn’t an uncontrollable feeling that suddenly comes out of nowhere—it begins as a thought, which is really a suggestion, that can be rejected because it is not of God. Science and Health says: “Sin and disease must be thought before they can be manifested. You must control evil thoughts in the first instance, or they will control you in the second” (p. 234 ).
I knew I had both the ability to discern these thoughts and the authority to refuse them, because the Bible states that God made each of us, as His image and likeness, to “have dominion” and that He “saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:26, 28, 31 ). Anger and hurt are not good, and therefore are not part of our true nature as God’s children, and we have dominion over the belief in such traits.
I began to be more alert to suggestions of anger as they came to my thinking. I began to discern thoughts that might start small but that, if not stopped, grew into angry feelings. Because I knew they were not of God, I was able to stop these thoughts from building up in my thinking. As I refused to react to what I was hearing or seeing around me, the angry feelings stopped, whether in conversations, while watching television, or thinking about the day. The thoughts that had spurred the anger also stopped.
As I have continued to grow in my understanding of Christian Science, I have realized that I can take this dominion even further by replacing anger with the understanding of the reality of divine Love. There is only one Mind, God, and this immortal Mind is also divine Love. Therefore, the only real thoughts we can have must come from God, not from the false belief of a mortal or personal mind. God lovingly governs every circumstance, situation, and individual.
Christian Science gives us the ability to understand and demonstrate this. When we understand that God is omnipotent and omnipresent Love, we see that there is no place for anger because there is in reality nothing to fear, negatively react to, or be angry about. This understanding doesn’t mean ignoring issues, but rather so fully understanding God as Love that not only is our anger healed, but the circumstance or situation that would appear to justify an angry response is also transformed. We begin to see and experience the truth that there is only divine Love. It is what each one of us truly expresses.
When we understand that God is Love, there is nothing left to fear, to negatively react to, or to be angry about.
Although the family member who had a bad temper passed on many years ago, my understanding of divine Love has given me a love for and understanding of his true identity as an immortal idea of God instead of an angry mortal with a bad temper. While this was not the original intent of my prayer, I am completely free from any anger I ever felt toward him or from him. I now discern the good and true qualities that have always comprised his real identity, and when I think about him, I feel only the love that comes from God.
God is the only Mind and the only source of our thoughts. This fact gives us dominion over anger and enables us to see that we are completely governed by Love—that “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding” (Philippians 4:7 ) is all around us and within us, always.