A Lenten self-examination
“I invite you…to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance…”
When I examine my life…myself (my self) for signs of my sins, anger is chiefest among them.
Two necessary definitions…
Sin. The English word “sin” is a translation of the Greek hamartia; literally, “to miss the mark.” I visualize an archer whose aim is faulty, whose arrows fall short or far away and apart from the bull’s eye, the center of the target. The archer’s errant aim is a metaphor for my intentions (which include my thoughts and feelings) and actions. The bull’s eye is a symbol for God, the Creator, thus, the center of life, and my idealized best (authentic) self as made in God’s image. In my living life, I miss the mark. No, not always, yet characteristically, thus, the (my) norm.
Thus, the Apostle Paul, describing our inherent and ever-present human inner conflict, could write: Nothing good dwells within me. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. For the good I want to do, I don’t do, but rather the evil I don’t want to do, that’s what I do. Therefore, I know that it is because of the sin that dwells within me.
Anger. A fundamental human emotion. As elemental as happiness and sadness. And, regarding life’s dangers, related to our human fear-response of fight-flight-or-freeze.
However, here, I think of Jesus’ teaching: “In ancient times, it was said, ‘You shall not murder’ and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment.”
In the Greek, there are two words for anger. Thumos, which, like lighting dried leaves, is a flame that quickly rises and, as quickly, wanes. And orgé. Chronic, habitual anger.
Orgé is my besetting sin.
From whence, for me, does it come?
To be continued…
© 2023 PRA
 From the invitation to the observance of a holy Lent, The Book of Common Prayer, page 265
 Romans 7.18-20; my adaptation
 Many years ago, at a moment when I had trouble articulating how I felt, a friend, as a clarifying advisement, asked, “Paul, are you mad, glad, or sad?”
 Matthew 5.21-22