Jesus saw a direct connection that we so very often deny between anger and murder. Why? Because we often feel “justified”–we rationalize our anger and hate. Jesus taught that our INTENTION is a significant part of wrongdoing. Think about it, “anger”, leads very quickly to a whole range of emotions and actions–a whole range of emotions and actions that we so very often regret.
Anger tends to be like a HURRICANE that reeks a path of destruction. Anger can destroy us as well as anything or anyone against which we direct it. What can we do to stop this “HURRICANE”, to direct its path to the see where it will subside and die out?
I mentioned these steps to helping keep our anger in check…….they are worth repeating:
CONTEMPLATION — examining why we are angry, looking at the surrounding circumstances, trying to determine true intent
CONFESSION — asking God and others for help in dealing with our anger.
COMMUNICATION — expressing anger in appropriate ways, speaking in love.
CHANGING OUR EXPECTATIONS — Change the expectations that led to the anger in the first place. Often our anger is based more on an unrealistic expectation.
My wife and I were putting some things in storage in Altamonte Springs once and as we were driving down the narrow pathway out, two big pickups blocked the way parking side by side as they unloaded their goods from the one pickup into their storage facility. I had gone around another big moving truck in the narrow pathway doing the same thing, kind of hemming me in.
I waited for a moment or two just “knowing” that the pickup truck owner would “see” me and move his truck. He didn’t, and my anger began to grow and fester….the nerve of these people to be so self-absorbed! I finally had enough and I three point POWER turned right there in the narrow pathway, gunning my engine (this would make the truck owner notice by gosh!). As I started to zoom out I narrowly missed an innocent bystander that was just there walking to their storage unit ( I am sorry Mrs. innocent bystander for scaring you), I bumped the wall with my front fender as I did my POWER 3-point turn and I sped by the big moving truck (hardly slowing down in case someone walked out from behind it not having a clue what was going on). I was mad!
By the way, my wife in the seat beside me was looking at me as if I was some crazed man gone insane (ah, yes, anger can do that to us, can’t it!).
Afterwards I calmed down and apologized to my wife and realized that I had indeed been “in the zone”. A zone I avoid because it always causes me trouble! I realized that, had the conditions been right, my anger might have led me down a path with the owner of that truck that could have turned violent. Not only that, but innocent bystanders could have been hurt!
I apologized to God and asked not only for forgiveness but for help in avoiding this type of anger in the future (truly, after I calmed down, I talked out loud to God right there in my truck on the way home!)
What should I have done?
CONTEMPLATE & CHANGE EXPECTATIONS: Had I been less “ME” centered, I would have thought about the situation and realized that, HELLO, I have been guilty of not being aware of my surroundings before (I wonder how many innocent souls are festering over something that I am not even aware of that I am causing?). I would have realized that the driver of the pickup was not intentionally trying to screw up my day or be inconsiderate.
CONFESSION: As I caught myself starting to get mad….I should have asked God right then and there to help calm my heart and to look at things clearly. HELLO…God was with me in that moment…He was probably simply looking at me like my wife was…what a nut case and how embarrassing I had become! Jesus left us with the Holy Spirit, yes; God is with us in all places and all things. Ask Him for strength!
COMMUNICATE: I should have taken the time to get out of my truck to kindly ask the oblivious driver of the truck to kindly move his. Yes, I know that this won’t always work. If it doesn’t, it gives me the opportunity to offer grace (the kind I get from God every day). It offers me the opportunity to be the bigger person and to then do a reasonable three point turn and leave without entering “the zone” which put people in danger. Usually, simple and kind communication (speaking in love) will do the trick.
Is all anger a sin? No, it’s not. Righteous anger and anger that is dealt with in a healthy way is not a sin. It is not wrong to be angry at the inappropriate response of others towards us–but, it is wrong to hate them and to react wrongly. It is not wrong to be angry at the pain and wrongdoing of others in the world, it is wrong if that anger is manifested in hate and retribution.
I think you get the point–the point is to love–not to destroy the spirit in ourselves and the spirit in those around us. Don’t get caught in a hurricane unprepared. Contemplate, confess, communicate and consider changing your expectations.