“A fool gives full vent to anger” – Prov. 29:6-11
Anger is a fool’s response.
There are two Hebrew words for anger: one is to have “pregnant nostrils” and the other means “to burn, grow hot.” Ever seen someone so upset they have pregnant nostrils? Yeah, not pretty.
When someone is mad, we say they are boiling mad, red with anger, hotheaded, or has a flaming temper.
Pixar’s Inside Out depicted the character Anger as this red man whose head would literally burst into flames when upset.
It’s like a powder-keg just waiting for the tiniest spark to set off a huge explosion.
I struggle with anger.
According to Maxie Dunnam, their are two types: Blazing (represented as a powder-keg) and Brooding (represented as a Crock-Pot). I identify with the brooding type. I am quick to hold grudges, be bitter or resentful, and to be hyper-critical.
Anger and pride are intrinsically linked: Upset my pride? Wound my ego? Anger is the result.
Because of my ingrained pride, I am more likely to be short-tempered and impatient. This leads to a brewing anger that permeates everything. Unchecked, this could lead to a volcanic eruption.
Reflecting upon the cure – God’s Grace on my anger:
First, God loves me in spite of myself. That doesn’t mean God gives me a blank check to do whatever I well please. God’s loving grace on my anger has been to point me to models of peace – like my mother, who is a peacemaker and my mother-in-law, who makes sure everyone’s needs are met. Of course, my perfect example is Jesus Christ. Who else to turn to for humble and meek peace?
Anger can be directed at God or at Self; I find my anger is at myself, not God. I am very hard on myself and therefore can be self-loathing. Anger is tricky like that. Regardless, to be angry with God OR Self is a sign of bondage.
Anger makes room for the devil.
Secondly, the saying goes: the size of a man can be measured by the size of the thing that makes him angry.
What makes me angry? What are my triggers? What sets me off?
I need to learn to understand my anger. I also need to express my anger in nondestructive and non-sinful ways.
Only by God’s grace!
James 1:19 is a life verse. My anger is not going to result in God’s righteousness. I cannot be an angry man and a man of God at the same time. Olsson gives us the imagery likening someone trying to do things on their own strength to burning wet garbage; it only creates suffocating smoke.
It will take Divine Intervention.
Lastly, the image a ticking timebomb has been on my mind over these last few weeks.
What happens when something explodes? It destroys whatever is around it. No life is ever brought from an explosion; only carnage.
Or the Crock-pot: it seethes and smolders. It’s repressed, resentful, and bitter. It re-hashes real and imagined wrongs. What a mess.
Do I really want to be like that? People tip-toeing around me?
I do not want to have pregnant nostrils!
I have full faith and confidence that God’s grace and love will calm the waters and lower the temperature. What is my anger telling me about myself and what is going on in my life?
I refuse to be an instrument for the devil and to allow him to use my anger against me, my family, or my ministry.