The other day I was visiting a client in a jail and he was pretty upset. He is in the middle of some serious trouble and no matter which path he chooses regarding how to best walk it out, the consequences are real. In the middle of his processing the situation, he boiled over to express what was actually years of frustration.
He went on and on about things that were only tangentially related to his case. He spewed venom towards various people and the system itself. He was boiling over with anger and just wanted somewhere to place it.
I waited for him to run through it and, at the right time, started addressing it. While I was there as an attorney, I have always taken the “Counselor” part of “Counselor at Law” part seriously. In other words, in the context of my counsel my clients are likely going to get something extra as it becomes evidently appropriate.
I talked with this man about his anger and challenged to consider that anger is secondary to another emotion which provide roots to the branches which look like an outburst. The anger is typically stemming from hurt or fear and the frustration spewing out over everyone around the person might not have anything to do with the immediate circumstances because the hurt or fear could go back decades.
That talk went well. I believe that I left him better than I found him.
The irony was that I was having a tough day regarding several items and had not slept well the night before. My best description of what I was feeling was anger. My anger was not at any one thing or person in particular but seemed to be cumulative from various circumstances. Only problem is that I know anger wasn’t the root.
It struck me as I started to work through my emotions later that day that there I was counseling someone on anger when I, myself, was angry. Is that hypocrisy? I don’t want to be a hypocrite.
If we all waited to serve others for a time when we were completely squared away, it would never happen. If we think we’ll be completely healed, set free and feeling anointed before we are then equipped for the task at hand, we will spend a lifetime at conferences without any application outside of ourselves.
Since there is not a word that translates back to the original Hebrew which we would describe as “coincidence,” perhaps it was not happenstance that on this angry day, I was invited to minister to someone who was angry. Maybe the counsel was for both of us.