Before anger takes over your life and dominates you, let God decide which path you should take.
On Saturday morning I got up early, fed my cats and started the housework. While I was doing them, I watched the cats play on my house’s land, which is 600 m², so they have enough space to roam and play among the trees, the farmhouse and the flowers. Aurora, one of my cats, had four months since she had four beautiful kittens, of which I kept one.
The kitten that I chose to stay at home was named Sabatino, because it was born on a Saturday. He was sweet, playful and so cuddly with his mom. In the morning, I would wake up kissing my forehead, climbing on the back of my bed. I pretended to be asleep to receive her caresses on my forehead. When I saw that I did not wake up, she would place one of her paws on my face and lick my cheeks; if I pretended to be asleep, she would gently tug at my hair.
In addition to a name, Sabatino had a nickname, “Julgillo,” when he got into trouble like climbing a tree and couldn’t get down, his mother Aurora ran to get me to give her a hand. Sabatino had been born at home, his mother was the one I had adopted with immense tenderness, but Sabatino, from his mother’s belly, was desired and eagerly awaited. I felt like the most radiant “grandmother” in the universe. As the days went by, Sabatino became more and more mine.
Every Sunday, when leaving to go to church, he lived the same ritual: he followed me to the front of the street and tried to chase me, so I had to turn back, I would take him in my arms and return him to the house , closing the window so he wouldn’t follow me. He was constantly permeating every corner of my existence. When I cooked he would climb on my legs and ask me for pampering; when I read, he would lie on my Bible or try to eat the cable of the laptop mouse; when I prayed on my knees, he gently nibbled my hair and licked my forehead. Sabatino Julgillo was a new awakening in my days and it filled me with tenderness. For those who were not a mother, daily events like these were reasons for praise and gratitude to God, who understood my emptiness.
On Saturday, May 24, I lived a morning like others; he ran around me and hid among the plants for his mother to look for him. But at some point, he disappeared, noticing his prolonged absence I began to search for him frantically. I toured the land in every corner, the houses of the neighbors and many helped in their search. Before nightfall a group of friends found him fallen on the side of the neighbor in the back, bitten by his dogs.
Imprecatory psalms or the desire for revenge
Digging his grave, burying him, and firing him was the worst thing I had to do in months. The pain broke my soul, to the point that at two in the morning I had a nervous breakdown. I went out to the patio to cry out my anguish over the loss of my beloved Sabatino, and I invoked justice to my Lord, in the manner of the thirty psalms of revenge, or “imprecatories”, where the author makes a claim to God to judge one’s adversaries. They are psalms that seem to be at odds with the ethics of love, mercy, kindness, and patience found elsewhere in the Bible. How can we face anger and the desire for revenge? According to Dr. Walter Brueggemann, there are three paths:
Expressing it by doing justice by one’s own hand, which is not appropriate.
Deny it, but sooner or later, he says, “it tends to turn out in another way that you didn’t plan, in your family or elsewhere.”
You can “tell the therapist or give it to God”
In psychology we speak of symbolization, referring to a defense mechanism by which a mental image or a conscious thought is used as a symbol to disguise an unconscious thought, which produces a state of anxiety. We use symbolization when putting our emotions into words, as in those psalms of which I spoke above, where the psalmist expresses sadness, his request for justice, elevates his anguish to God and symbolizes it in metaphors.
In this way, as a psychologist, I could say that imprecatory psalms have a great therapeutic effect, which allow the process of mourning in the face of what is lost. It does not mean that you want “the enemy” to suffer, but it is a legitimate request where you undress in front of God and confess: “I can’t take it anymore, get this anger out of my soul, don’t let it contaminate me and get away from you” .
Let god heal you
When you pray with the imprecatory psalms, there is a healing power in effect in our day, since anger or the desire for revenge are feelings that nest in our fallen state and need to be resolved in a legitimate way in the eyes of the God of love. Before letting anger take hold of you, humbly let God help you decide which way to go. With this, you recognize His wisdom and power to solve that process of pain and misery that you are going through.