An Angry, Angry World

We live in an angry world, don’t we? Domestic violence, temper tantrums, divorce, lawsuits,
even beer brawls. It doesn’t seem to
matter what age we are, where we live, or how many blessings we have in
life. The poor are ticked that they
aren’t rich. The rich are angry that the
poor are jealous. Everyone’s angry with
the government, for some reason or another. Blacks get angry with whites, whites get angry with Latinos, parents get
mad at children and teens can’t stand the rules at school.




When anger starts ruining people’s lives or tearing families
apart, experts recommend anger management classes. I even found a firm in Australia that
offers “road rage counseling.”


So what’s the answer?  First, we have to realize that anger isn’t the problem.  Selfishness is.  I don’t know how the experts define “anger,”
but here’s my attempt: Anger is
aggressively asserting my belief that the world should revolve around me.
  Rage, to take things a step farther, is the
violent assertion of that belief.


Whenever I see people getting angry, I can’t help but think
about my definitions. It could be a
husband getting angry with a wife, a parent lashing out at her kid, or some
cranky-looking lady whose scowl is too close for comfort in my rear-view mirror.


“They aren’t moving fast enough.” “They cut me off.” “They violated my right to….” “I don’t have all day.” “This isn’t fair.” “How dare you treat me that way?” “I deserve better than this!”


Reminds me of kindergarten.


(Of course, some will protest that “righteous anger” is
appropriate, the kind Jesus displayed. Granted. When your anger is
completely controlled, helpful to the situation and utterly unselfish, go for
it.)


The Bible has an answer for angry people: “Everyone should
be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger
does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” (James 1:19-20, NIV)


How can I be “slow” to anger?


1. Remember that life
isn’t about you.
  God didn’t create the
world as an exclusive “serve-you” club. There are billions of other souls on board this flight, and each of them
is equally important to God. Wise people
use their lives to help others, not to “aggressively assert their belief” in
selfishness.


2. Consider the other
person.
Whatever their reason for doing
things the way they do, perhaps it would be better to have a tinge of patience,
or even a little compassion? Maybe that
person has some serious issues, and God might want to use you to demonstrate His
love to that individual? If you get
angry, you blow your opportunity to make a positive difference.


3. Start with a
choice to cease being an angry person.
 
Even if you’re in the habit of being angry, you don’t have to let it
happen ever again. Really. Just quit the sin of anger and re-allocate
your passion toward good things. If someone says or does something “angering,”
respond by saying to yourself, “It would take a whole lot more than this to
actually get me angry. Now, in this
situation, what can I do to help make it better?”


4. Realize that anger
never solves a problem, it just makes it worse.
 
The Bible says that anger is a “first-step” sin. It leads to other things. And that makes sense, if anger is really
selfishness. When you start aggressively
asserting your selfishness, you’ll begin to deceive yourself about what really
matters in life. Soon, you’ll find that
anger has taken you places you never wanted to go.


“And ‘don't sin by letting anger gain control over you.’
Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a mighty
foothold to the Devil.” (Eph. 4:26-27, NLT)


 

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