Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Anger Danger

Why is everyone so angry? Everywhere I go I see people exploding in irrational outbursts of anger. Go to a High School football game and some of those guys who have not played football since 1965 are about to have a stroke because of the bad play of the team or the call of a football official. The guy on the freeway is ranting and raving at his fellow drivers for being such imbeciles - screaming obscenities and using sign language to communicate his disgust. A Mom is screaming at her child in the produce section of HEB, with steam coming out of her ears.

Anger is a genuine human emotion. We all get mad. But the way we express our anger says so much about us. You can also tell so much about a person by what makes them angry.

Jesus was angry but never with something done to him personally. He was angry with those who refused to help the hurting and used religion as their cover. (Mark 3:5) He was angry when greed set up shop in the temple, treating the poor with contempt and ruining a place for prayer. (Mark 11:15-17) When people did things to offend Jesus and hurt him he never responded in anger.

There is the line in the Bible: "In your anger, do not sin." (Ephesians 4:26) This is actually a quote from Psalm 4:4 which Paul borrowed for his discussion of how to handle our anger. Paul basically says don't let your anger "brew" - get it processed soon, before it becomes too hot to handle.

Anger like all our emotions has its place but it also has its dangers. People get crushed by anger and often it will take years to recover from it. One friend told me of how his Father's anger gave him recurring nightmares that still haunt his nights even as an adult and even after his Father's death.

One line from the Bible says to be "slow to become angry" - don't have a short fuse. It goes on to say that human "anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires." (James 1:19-20)

One thing that truly helps me with anger is to see others with compassion not with a desire to get even. There are people I disagree with, those who seem so insensitive and unkind - when I am around them I try to imagine what might be going on in their life. Perhaps they have financial problems, or marital difficulties or maybe they have suffered a recent loss, perhaps someone always reacted in anger toward them - I redouble my effort to treat them with respect and genuine kindness.

Instead of getting so mad about all the mad people why not become more patient, a better listener - be a person of grace, it may be just what they need to help them change the way they deal with their anger.

Just thinking, Steve

1 comment: