Answering the question of anger could be the single, most important step in the direction of our dreams that we could ever take. Why?
Anger is a roadblock.
Not the kind that appears as a wall to breakthrough or pass over, but the deceitful type. It stays hidden, crouching; waiting to attack.
Anger is the kryptonite to our soul.
As Mike Ashcraft so eloquently put it, “Anger keeps our excuses relevant.”
Here’s the problem with anger: It disguises itself differently in each of us. Because it takes on different forms, it is often hard to recognize. It’s like the lizard that becomes brown on the fence and turns green in the grass; it molds to its surroundings.
I told myself I wasn’t angry because I didn’t physically punch some thing or someone.
I told myself I wasn’t angry because I don’t yell or curse or scream.
My anger was disguising itself.
It’s amazing what happens when you’re honest and become transparent.
“Anger wearied itself and gave room for the truth” – C.S. Lewis
Don’t we all seek truth?
Could it be that our anger is keeping us from it?
As I read that, it helped me to see that anger has a way of keeping the truth circumstantial. Our anger lets us define our version of what is true or just. We must wrestle with the core of our anger as we seek truth. It starts by asking:
“Why am I angry?”
Anger, often a by-product of brokenness, robs us of joy. More importantly, it allows a foothold for blame and excuses to destroy us. Anger hardens the soil of our soul. A hardened soul yields bitter fruit. Now there are certainly injustices and life is full of tragedy.
In the end, anger is a choice.
I found that most of my anger resulted from things not going my way; pure selfishness. Whether it be my kids, my wife, my job – when it didn’t happen exactly the way I wanted it to, anger began to well-up inside.
We often call it frustration.
I noticed it most with my boys – when they would hit each other or refuse to share. More commonly when they would blatantly disobey. I was frustrated. I justified it by redefining the word angry.
It’s ok to be frustrated, you just don’t want to become angry.
That’s until the crouching anger leaps and pounces on someone else.
The person driving in front of me, too slow in the left lane. So I yell at them through my windshield.
My assistant at work when she misplaces a file. So I fuss about mistakes.
My parents when they try to have a conversation. “Stay out of my business!”
My wife because she doesn’t pack boxes the way I would. “What are you doing?”
Here’s the truth:
Love is patient, love is kind, love is not self-seeking, love does not boast…
Anger is impatient, anger is unkind, anger is self-seeking, anger always boasts…
Ralph Waldo Emerson penned these words which provide our reality:
“Every minute we’re angry, we give up 60 seconds of peace-of-mind.”
Anger is a choice.
*There’s no such thing as anger management; anger needs to be mastered. Anger needs to be dissolved although issues aren’t resolved. If you don’t define your anger, it will define you*
This is a work is progress, but something that needs to be in process for all of us.
To that end, I will keep asking, “Why am I angry?”
*I’m so very grateful for the team at Port City Church. These words are mostly notes from our recent series, HOTHEADS, in which Mike Ashcraft discussed anger. I attribute the quotes and references to Mike and his research, but felt the need to put them in this context because of their dire importance. You can visit and LISTEN to the series or download the podcast on iTunes. Enjoy!