Rationalizing Anger

“You can prolong your anger by rationalizing it or blaming others for it rather than accepting full responsibility for your part. To rationalize something means “to cause it to seem reasonable,” when it may not be reasonable at all.

Listen to some rationalizations:
* It’s not my fault I am angry.
* — does not deserve to be forgiven. I’m not going to let him or her off the hook that easy.
* Why should I bother when my — isn’t even trying?
* — wasn’t sorry enough.
* I have had such a hard life.”
Excerpt www.DivorceCare.org

This reminds me of the story of the prodigal son and older brother which i believe is really a story about the father and his example of love, forgiveness, and connection. We are not called to be like the sons (except the coming home part), though each son resides inside us to varying degrees, I am called to be like the father–embracing both sons when they are ready, offering welcome, accepting amends, hoping and believing and gifting to trust. The father did not accept either child begrudgingly, he did not say to the younger child, “well you are not sorry enough or repentant enough. i don’t believe you.” he did not force that child to get on his knees and beg, he did not even demand an explanation. he simply opened his arms and accepted his child as the child presented himself (as is) when he arrived home. risky. he did not force the older child to accept his brother, he simply, instead assured that child of his love for him, his connection with him as family and that all that he had was his as well. i wonder if it reduced the older child’s fear. it appears to me that the older brother, continued in his resentment and contempt for his brother. I am called to be like the father, to forgive and accept amends and to risk the reestablishment of trust. I may not see amends given or accepted in this lifetime, but if and when they come, when the opportunity arises, give me the hope and faith to forgive and embrace. I cannot live like the older child. I have lived there for far to long. Let me be like the prodigal returning home, let me be like the father. Let me set aside false pride and rationalized anger that I might use to hold my world together and hold others at bay. Let me set aside constructs I have built to try and understand the nature of the others. Let me forgive the constructs others have built about me in order to hold their own world and self together. Let me not choose the illusion of self protection, when in fact it does nothing even remotely protective. Both children belonged to the father, they were and are his. They both loved the father though they could not see how this was so in the other. Help me in my disbelief.