If you have inner turmoil caused by unresolved conflicts, you can use the end of the year to bring closure. This is a good time to exchange the rubbish of your heart for peace.

Take anger, for example. Anger for hurt you didn’t deserve. You can’t forget a friend’s insinuating criticism. A colleague got a job you were more qualified for. Your husband is a “street angel” but a “house devil.” When your mother died, your sister got all her jewelry and you got nothing but an old blanket. You married into a family that treats you like a stepchild. Anger lingers inside us for different reasons. So, how do we rid ourselves of this damaging attitude that robs us of joy?

Three affirmations offer a solution. First, anger hurts me, not the person who is the object of my anger. Second, no one can make me angry unless I give that person permission to do so. Third, I can choose to let my anger go.

Apply common sense. Since anger disrupts the normal functions of your body’s organs, why allow a disposition of your mind to injure your liver or your kidneys?

As this calendar year ends, we can dispose of lingering anger just as we handle the garbage — throw it out. That’s what anger is anyway — garbage. The longer we let it hang around, the worse it stinks.

 Bitterness and resentment are cousins of anger. If we allow them lodging in our hearts, they can eventually destroy us. No one is immune to these villains. Like the flu, they can attack us and wound us.

That’s why it’s important to guard the door of our hearts. If a friend gets a promotion we thought we deserved, we must deal sternly with any resentment that pops up. We can tell ourselves our turn will come later. We can find the grace to help our friend celebrate their good fortune.

A problem for some of us is our tendency to want other people to adopt our standards for living. Our society is highly complex, and more so every day. We must learn to allow others the freedom to make a myriad of personal choices that may be different from our own. 

None of us can make these choices for others. We must make our own and learn to adjust to what we consider strange decisions some people make in a free society. It helps to remember that we are not all alike.

Some people like chicken; others like fish. Some folks like country music; others like opera. We can make ourselves miserable if we insist that everybody prefer chicken and country music. People are different. The art is to learn to enjoy our own uniqueness and not focus on the weirdness of others.

In every arena there is one basic principle that helps us live with peace. I call it the principle of the Ditch. To live well we must discern which ditches are worth dying in. Some ditches are not worth dying in. So, we should save our energy for those moral issues that demand from us the courage to stand for the right no matter the cost.

An automobile runs better if the radiator is flushed now and then. The human mind can use a good flushing now and then. There are attitudes, ideas and dispositions that are detrimental to good health. By bringing closure to those that cause us inward turmoil, we can get a jumpstart on making the new year a year of inner peace — and not just any peace, but the peace of Christ which He gives gladly to all who seek it.

Happy New Year!