i have a hypothesis which is like a zoologist student’s big masters year essay on 4000-8000 lbs river-dwelling creatures that are responsible for more deaths per year than lions… but that’s a different story…
what i want to suggest to you today is that no-body in the world has the ability to make me angry
“but brett, that just isn’t true, i’ve watched you play hockey”
“silence, in-fidelllll i kill you”
thankx achmed, but i’ll take it from here…
and no-one in the whole world has the power to make you angry!
“oh, but brett, they do, have you seen me in traffic during rush hour?”
i loved that movie!!! but no, let me explain – the reason nobody else can make you angry is because only you can make you angry
i’m convinced that anger, like love, is a choice
now people and situations can point me in the direction of becoming angry – person hacks my foot in a hockey game, taxi pulls recklessly in front of me in traffic, i hit my thumb with a saw (i’m not very good with tools) and so on…
but how i respond to said person or situation is a complete choice by me
how do i know this? because i have observed people in the very same situations that ‘make me angry’ and yet they don’t respond in anger – and i have been in similiar situations when on one occasion my response will be anger and on another it won’t be
here is an example – i am alone, i hit my thumb with a hammer (someone pointed out i was hammering things in earlier this note using a saw) and i immediately swear… a lot…
in a different example, i am hammering and my parents and parents-in-law and Bono are in the room (it could happen) and i hit my thumb and i will most likely use a fake swearword like “fudgecakes” or “7de laan” which proves that i can affect the outcome of my anger depending on who is nearby – [if i happened to shout out ‘bloody’ by mistake i would definitely pretend i was doing a metal version of ‘sunday bloody sunday’ so that Bono wouldn’t think less of me]
and it really all boils down to a choice – someone treats me unfairly, i arrive late at the movies and all the tickets are sold out, someone scrapes my car… all those things point me in the direction of anger, but i can choose to walk that road or not
‘a fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control’ – proverbs 29.11
and one of the descriptions of love in 1 cor 13 is that it is ‘not easily angered’
Jesus got angry. Flippin angry. In matthew 21.12/john 2.15 he fashions a whip and drives out the people selling stuff in the temple grounds and overturns tables – it is the righteous anger of seeing something that is godly being perverted by greedy men…
ephesians 4.26 maybe says it best when it says, ‘in your anger, do not sin. do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.’
and so maybe anger isn’t so much the problem as how we let it out – how quickly we let it out – and how long we hold on to it
the beautiful Val and i have a principle in our marriage of never going to bed angry which leads to some awkward waited out silences on some occasions as we get ourselves to a place where we can apologise and speak it out and work through whatever the issue is – hard and awkward and weird sometimes, but a marriage saver or enhancer for sure
i think it is important to get angry – crime should make us angry… so should abuse. murder. rape should make us insanely angry. waste. litter [seriously, smoker, carry that thing to a bin!] racism. sexism. raisins [okay maybe not everyone should be angry at raisins, but i certainly am, little gross squishy puke maggots!] injustice.
those things should all make us angry. but we should be slow to respond. and we should respond with wisdom and grace, and in love.
slow to anger, quick to love.
one of the downsides of anger is it can ruin a moment, an occasion, a day – i remember i used to get pretty angry and road ragey in traffic and just used to spend so much time angry – but i think it was the realisation that my anger never changed the situation, it never made people drive better, or apologise to me for their rude cutting in, or whatever – it was only affecting me. and so i decided to stop it. and largely i did.
i think if you are able to stop and take a step back and view the situation and see how getting ridiculously angry will affect the situation and you, it will make it a lot easier not to get angry, or to get angry but with a controlled response – you know what, you’re a ponce, but i’m not going to let you destroy my moment, occasion, day by getting all angry about it – i will deal with the situation, and with you if necessary, but i’m going to keep my cool and respond rather than react, and continue to enjoy my day
so say it with me, ‘i made me angry’ – now stoppit, me!