Joe, thanks for these wise words. I realized some time ago that part of what I am supposed to learn in this life is how to hold my center and respond out of my wholeness and integrity to those whom I could easily regard as a threat to my safety or my spiritual well being. That's a large part of the reason why I joined this forum, and an even larger part of why I decided to participate over at the UMC.org forums (which thankfully have calmed down somewhat).
Thich Nhat Hanh's words on Loving Speech and Deep Listening (from his expansion and commentary on the Five Precepts of Buddhism
) resonate through me even more today than when I first heard them. To paraphrase only a small part of his version,
"Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I vow to speak truthfully, using words that inspire self-confidence, joy and hope."
I ask myself repeatedly, how can I respond with integrity while still using true and positive words? I'm not always successful in doing so, but I grow immensely through the effort.
It's true that we need to vent our anger sometimes, but we are also called to transform angry energy into light, through prayer, meditation, talking it out, whatever means necessary. Without this step, nonviolence becomes very difficult to maintain.