On anger

My grandmother always wore dresses until she didn’t anymore. That time came when she was in the nursing home and she was wearing adult diapers. It was simply easier for the attendants to make her wear jogging pants to help keep them on. I didn’t understand this at the time and so I commented on her pants. I commented on how nice they were and said they must be comfortable. My grandmother looked at me with great astonishment and she said “I’m not wearing pants” and then she looked down at her legs and then looked back at me and stated again “I’m not wearing pants”. Even in the face of reality she stuck with what she had known to be true her whole life.

There are many people who are like this about their anger. When you point out to someone that they’re angry they’ll often say “I’m not angry!” They’ll say that they’re “frustrated” or they’re “upset” but they won’t say that they’re angry. They have all the signs for it but they won’t say it.

I think our greatest problem is that we won’t acknowledge what really is happening outside or inside of us. How can we heal our brokenness if we won’t even admit to ourselves that we are broken?

It is OK to be angry. Anger is a normal feeling. It isn’t healthy to be angry all the time, though, and that can happen when we fail to recognize it and handle it in a healthy way.

Think of anger as needing to go to the bathroom. There is something that is in you that needs to get out. This is a normal part of being a human being. With bowel movements, we are taught as children how to recognize that feeling and to go to the bathroom to eliminate. The bathroom is a safe and appropriate place to take care of this need. If we don’t take care of it in a timely manner then we can end up with physical problems due to having this no-longer needed matter inside us. Or we can have an “accident” and get poop all over ourselves and others.

Anger is just like this. If we keep it inside too long we can hurt ourselves or have an “accident” and spew anger all over the wrong people and in the wrong place. If we don’t do it in an appropriate manner we can make a real mess.

An important part is learning to recognize the feeling. Just like with poop, ignoring it doesn’t make it go away. It will only get worse. But before that, it is important to admit to yourself that anger is real, and it is normal.

Peter denies that he knows Jesus

Meanwhile, Peter and another disciple were following Jesus at a distance. The other disciple was acquainted with the high priest, so he followed Jesus all the way into the high priest’s courtyard. Peter stayed outside by the door, standing by himself. The other disciple spoke to the slave girl who was the doorkeeper and he brought Peter into the courtyard.

The slaves and temple guards lit a charcoal fire in the courtyard below to warm themselves up. Peter was sitting around the fire with them.

When the slave girl who had let him in took at look at him in the firelight, she said “You were with him, that Jesus of Nazareth.”

But Peter denied it, saying “I was not, I don’t know him! I don’t know what you are talking about!” Then he walked closer to the doorway.

A little later, another person saw him and said to those nearby “He’s one of his disciples!”

“I don’t know him!” Peter exclaimed.

About an hour later, a relative of Malchus, the man whose ear Peter had cut off, said “Weren’t you in the garden with him? Your accent is Galilean, so surely you are one of them.”

Then Peter started to curse and make oaths to swear that what he was saying was true, saying “I don’t even know who you are talking about!”

Right then, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed, and Peter remembered that the Lord had said “Truly, you will deny that you know me three times before the rooster crows this very day!”

He went outside and wept bitterly.

MT 26:69-75, MK 14:66-72, LK 22:55-62, JN 18:15-18 and 18:25-27

Peter’s denial predicted

Then Jesus said to them “All of you will falter because of me tonight, because it is written ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep and his flock will be scattered.’ But after I have been resurrected, I will travel ahead of you to Galilee.”

Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where you going?” Jesus answered him, “You cannot follow me where I am going right now, but you will go there later.”

Then he added “Simon Simon, be on your guard! Satan has asked to be able to sift all of you like wheat. But I have prayed for you personally that your faith will be strong. I hope that when you have turned back, you will strengthen your brothers.”

Peter said “I will not run away even if everyone else does! Lord, I am ready to follow you to prison and even to death!”

Jesus replied “Will you die for me? Truly, you will deny that you know me three times before the rooster crows this very day!”

Peter told him “Even if I have to lay down my life for you, I will never deny that I know you.”

And all the disciples repeated his words.

MT 26:31-35, MK 14:27-31, LK 22:31-34, JN 13:36-38

Asperger’s and social blindness

I know a lady who has a son who appears to have a case of Asperger’s. She refuses to even consider the idea. She just thinks that he is annoying and needs to be told to be quiet. She and his stepfather have noticed that all of his friends are younger than he is, and he has a hard time fitting in. He will talk endlessly about his own interests and not know how to interact with other people in a meaningful way. He acts a lot younger than he is and it is very difficult to be around him. They think they are doing him a favor by letting him be around their adult friends. They don’t get that it isn’t a favor to their friends.

I’ve spoken with her often about him. She believes that to take him to get assessed or get treatment is to say that there is something wrong with him. She doesn’t want the stigma of a developmental disorder attached to him. She’d rather him suffer, and for everyone around him to suffer, than for him to get help.

Think of it this way. What if he had vision problems? Rather than admitting that he has low vision, she’d rather let him bump into everything and get hurt. When he got older, he’d try to drive and cause accidents because he can’t see properly. Asperger’s is like social blindness. He bumps into people. He bumps into social rules. Getting treatment for him would be the same as getting glasses.

In fact it would be better than getting glasses because people see you wearing glasses. There is a stigma there. It is obvious. Getting treatment for Asperger’s is even better than wearing glasses. If he has counseling to learn how to interact with other people in a healthy way, then the only thing people will notice is that he’s not bumping into people anymore.