We’ve all been there.
You are driving along minding your own business when a car, that has decided to wait until you are 20 yards away, pulls out into the road in front of you. The next thing you know, you are driving 15 mph behind a car for 7 miles with no place to pass him. If you are a praying person, you probably prayed something like this:
Dearest Lord, thank you for allowing me not to wreck into the driver in front of me. I feel sure that he didn’t see me when he pulled out, and I am grateful for the way this is teaching me the important virtue of patience. Please reward that driver with lottery winnings, the love of beautiful women, and the admiration and respect of like-minded men. Thanks again for this slow drive to start my morning. Amen.
Yeah right! You’re prayer was probably more like this:
Ok, God, seriously! Did you see that? Of all mornings, why did you have to let this happen today?! What did I ever do to you?! (on second thought, please don’t answer that). Please plague this man and his home with locusts, hail, and swarms of angry frogs. Make all of his shoes uncomfortable and all of his shirts untuckable. Create an awful smell in his car, that annoys him, but that he is never able to find and clean. Also, please erase my boss’ memory, since it is your fault that I am late anyway. Amen.
We have all had our anger get the best of us, causing us to do and say things that we later wish we hadn’t. We kick ourselves and make promises about controlling our anger better in the future.
But what if our anger isn’t the problem?
Anger is simply an emotion, and God created and gave us our emotions. They are an important part of a healthy life. Emotions add color and depth to life, and many times they are important indicators of what is going on around us and inside of us. Anger isn’t something to be avoided. You can’t just “not be angry”. It won’t work. Eventually your anger is going to come out. It may be explosive and loud, or sneaky and passive-aggressive, but your anger will eventually make it's way to the surface.
So, the challenge in dealing with our anger isn’t to find a way to avoid it, but to find places to wisely invest it. Your problem isn’t that you are angry, but that you are angry at the wrong things. If you choose to go to battle over the fact that someone got your order wrong in the drive-thru, then it's likely that you have become disconnected from the deeper instances of pain and injustice around you. Think about this, within a 5 mile radius of where you live: a wife is being physically abused by her husband, a child has no one to do homework with him or to play catch with in the backyard, a senior adult is lonely and depressed because no one comes to talk with her anymore. Allow you anger to be engaged by these things, by things that are bigger than your own life and personal comfort. Allow your anger to be stirred, and then take action out of that anger. Make a difference. Find a need and step in. Fight against the small and large injustices around you and in our world. When your anger is spent in the cause of justice and mercy, you will not need to vent as much during life’s aggravating moments. Please understand it’s ok to be angry during those aggravating moments in life, but you get to choose where to invest your anger and where to act! There's nothing wrong with getting angry, but as often as you can, funnel your anger into making a difference in the life of someone else!
I hope today finds you angry in all the good ways....