Why Do We Get So Angry?

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I can get really angry. Some of the things that make me angry (or at least very irritated) are–

• drivers that go below the speed limit

• being interrupted while I am trying to concentrate

• kids who argue or show disprespect

• leaving the lights on and closet doors open

• twisting the truths of scripture

• not getting my way

Now before you judge or criticize me, stop and think about yourself for a moment. I am guessing that there are a few things that probably make your blood grow a little hot, as well.

Of course, all of us do not express anger the same way. Some of us yell and scream. Others sulk or get very quiet. Still others gossip or slander. Some people (hopefully not any of my readers) express their anger inappropriately by throwing things or hitting and kicking.

But, no matter how it manifests itself, anger is a part of all of our lives.

A sermon I listened to recently clarified the sinfulness of anger. It also made it clear how much I shrug off this sin. I rationalize that everyone gets angry once in awhile. So what? What’s the big deal?

We can sometimes fool ourselves into thinking that we have righteous anger, but it doesn’t take much honest introspection to come to the conclusion that most of our anger is about our own personal agenda and has nothing to do with an offense towards the Holy God we love.

In fact, when I started to think about this particular sin in my life, I was mortified at just how important I consider my agenda, my comfort and convenience, my desires, and my stuff.

After all, why would I get so very angry when someone crosses me if they weren’t so important to me?

{And suddenly I remember what I really am—a self-absorbed, pathetic sinner in desperate need of a Savior. For if anything can remind me of the wonder of salvation and the glory of the Gospel it is coming face to face with my own sin.}

So, if I am angry because someone is keeping me from my doing what I want to do or having what I want to have, what exactly does that mean? I believe that it means that something is more important to me than God at that moment.  And that means that–at least for that moment– there is an idol in my life.

For example, let’s just say that I want a clean house and so I work hard to have one. An hour later my husband walks through the house with muddy boots. If I grow angry (and I usually do), then I am putting my desire for a clean house before pleasing the Lord with my tongue.

Another example comes to mind. Let’s say I am searching for a pair of earrings and can’t find them. I eventually figure out that one of my daughters borrowed (and lost) them. If I speak angry words in frustration (which is, quite honestly, normally how I respond) than–for that moment–my stuff has become more important than pleasing the Lord.

The sad thing is that this happens to me way, way too often.

You see, most of us like to blame our anger on something or someone else. We talk about our hormones, our misbehaved kids, or our demanding parents. We blame our husbands, our pastors, or our co-workers. They made us angry.

But, if we are honest, we really cannot shift the blame for our anger on to someone (or something) else. In each instance, whether we grow slightly frustrated or absolutely furious, we still hold the responsibility for that anger.

There are better ways to solve problems than anger. In fact, I would go so far as to say, anger compounds the problem rather than solving it.  Think about the last time you got angry. Can you think of it? Now think about how you responded. Got it? So my question for you is this: Did your yelling and screaming help or hinder resolution? Did your sulkiness and sullenness bring peace or strife to the situation?

So, in a nutshell, our anger not only shows us that we are selfish to the core but it also hinders our relationships. If that is the case, then what is the right way to respond? And how do we get ourselves to respond in this right way?

Honestly, I am still working on that one. I am pretty certain that it has to do with devaluing and dethroning myself while I make pleasing God my most important priority in all aspects of my life. Some things that would probably help me in this are memorizing scripture, prayer, and having a response plan in place for the inevitable frustrating moments that will come.

What I do know, without a doubt, is that our spouses are more important than our desires, our children are more important than our stuff, and that God is more important than anything else. That leads me to believe that working on this problem of anger isn’t an option, but a necessity if we are going to grow in our faith.

 

 

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