Tag Archive: anger


James 1 verse 19-20 says, ‘My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.’

Oh no, why is my hand up again? Anyone else got their hand up in the air for this one? Really not starting so strong there, mister Fish.

Another way to definitively show love to someone is to speak without accusing them. When language like “You always…” or “You never…” creeps into conversations [any by ‘conversations’ i probably mean ‘arguments’ or ‘shouting matches’] then firstly it is quite likely that there is some dishonesty involved [in the emotional intensity of this precise moment when this thing i am accusing you of having done or having neglected is causing me such extreme emotion, i am tempted to try and lay this thing on you as a thing that you never ever get right, which if not true, does not feel particularly fair or loving] and secondly, it usually intensifies the current situation seeking resolution.

I guess one way to do this [and it is not something i am known for getting incredibly right, for sure] is to focus on the problem or the issue rather than the person. If the person you are speaking to then decided to take ownership for the fact that they dropped the ball this time [or even every time if it is true] then it is more likely to get well resolved than if you accuse them and they react to that and perhaps remind you of the time you “always…” or “never…” and that is rarely helpful [as opposed to being really helpful]

what is perhaps tricky with this one is discovering the fine line between accusing someone and challenging someone. in my experience, challenging someone works best when it is a form of accountability that has been invited [altho i still definitely believe there are times to do it when not invited to do so, altho those rarely go really well, but sometimes you can be well surprised and those times are worth it] and the absolute key for that is the phrase “Truth in Love” where you should always lean heavily towards the Love side. [and i see a line of people forming to point out how i have well intentionedly gotten that one crazy wrong as well through my life – fortunately this is not just about me!]

Quick to listen [without interrupting]
Slow to speak
Slow to become angry

Perhaps if we focus on those three points [and i imagine, if they are not things you naturally jump to, that you will have to train yourself over time, maybe writing them down, maybe repeating them as a sort of mantra] we will be a lot closer at getting this thing right. Not being caught up in the emotion of an experience is also something that might be good to work on.

as i speak to you without accusing you, i invite relationship and the taking on of responsibility and a mutual collaboration to work on whatever issue might be presenting itself at this time and that sounds a lot more Love-filled and effective…

may we become better at Love as we embrace this idea and start to see it more at work in our lives.

can anyone relate?

[to move on to the next idea of Giving without sparing, click here]

continuing my journey of reading through the psalms at a leisurely pace, making some observations as i go along, inviting you to jump in to the comments section with a verse or idea or question or wrestle that possibly jumped out at you as you were reading this particular psalm:

which is Psalm 4

vs 4 jumped out at me in this one: ‘in your anger, do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent.’

this is a tricky one because generally we think of anger as the bad guy, but there are places in the bible where we see righteous anger in force [the story that comes to mind is Jesus clearing out the money lenders in the temple [Matthew 21.12] and as it explains here, don’t let anger drive you to sin… similar to temptation which is not sin, but unless we deal with it defiantly when it rears its ugly head, it quickly leads to sin, which James illustrates graphically:

‘When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.’ [James 1.13-15]

in the same way anger can give birth to rage and violence and bitterness and resentment if it is allowed to conceive… we need to learn to respond well to things that make us angry.

and they should – rape, sexual abuse, racism, christians not living out Christ-following lives, unforgiveness – these things should all make us angry… but in our anger we must never sin – does the anger drive us to action, positive action and radical acts of justice, grace and mercy? it should when we invite the Holy Spirit to take control and direct us.

the image of the second part of the verse – ‘when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent’ – i like that because it gives me the idea of someone who is angry, but struggling to not sin as a result and so the advice is hey dude, go chill, take a time out, regroup, still your heart, create some silence and listen to the voice of God over the voice of how the world is screaming you should respond [revenge, mob justice, retaliation…] and then later, when that has been achieved go out and act wisely but still driven by the same passion that was driving your anger.

another danger can be when people add the word ‘righteous’ to plain sin-enducing anger to justify why their brand of un-love is acceptable and that might be another great opportunity for some lying on the bed and stilling of the heart…

there is a lot more in this psalm, but that’s one thort that inspires me and i’m very interested to hear what stood out to you?

also if you know of anyone else who might be interested in this walk through the psalms, please pass on the link – the more people jumping in and commenting and sharing their thoughts and observations the better, don’t just be a sponge, share with us what you got…

[To continue on to Psalm 5, click here]

[To return to the start of this series on Psalms or some other Bible things, click here]

you made me so angry, oh wait no you didn’t

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!

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