“You Make Me So Mad!”

Who or what gets you angry?  As you do an inventory, let me give you some of my biggest pet peeves.  First, ridiculous traffic light sequences make me angry.  We can put a man on the moon but we have yet to figure out how to improve and expedite traffic flow.  I cannot tell you the number of times I have sat at a light waiting for the green and see no other traffic travelling on the street I have intersected with.  My comment more often than not is, “This is just ridiculous!” (emphasis added J).  Those lights make me so angry!  Another regular frustration is the instrument that I’m using to record this blog… my computer.  I love the convenience that it brings, but when it’s acting up, I don’t think that there’s anything more aggravating and time-consuming.  My frequent comment here is, “Oh no, not again!”  Do you feel my pain? 

So, where does anger (frustration, irritability, aggravation) come from?  My thought is that it does not come from the actual precipitating events, it comes from inside me.  It is a response to my life and its daily activities not going according to my plan.  Someone or something has interposed himself or itself in my life to take me off my plans… plans for time usage, plans for productivity, or plans for rest.  But those people or events aren’t producing my anger, they are revealing it.  Anger is a God-given emotion and is not inherently bad or evil.  But anger is prone to go in very dysfunctional directions if we do not handle it correctly.  Our anger, properly viewed, is an invitation to a more accurate self-perception and growth.  Why do I get upset when my wife does that?  Why am I so stressed when I’m late?  Why does my lack of knowledge and ability make me so mad?  The answer is not a cookie cutter one… one size does not fit all.  But our regular irritations are a call to a deeper place where God can speak to us in a more profound manner.  God speaks to Cain’s anger at his rejected sacrifice and says: “Why are you angry?  …if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”  The goal is not to stop being angry, but to be its master and not let that anger lead us into sin.  So stop blaming others or events or even God for your anger, and allow Him to take you into a place where you can use that anger to lead you to greater personal insights and more healthy relationships.

Jim

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