How do you respond when you are angry? Are you quiet in your rage or are you a tornado cutting a swath through all in your path? Do you hold onto it for a long time or do you let it go?
I’m a rather happy-go-lucky individual personally, so it is fairly rare for me to actually be truly angry. I may get irritated or perturbed, but real honest to goodness anger, is not something that I have to confront often in myself. Even when I do get angry, more often than not, I’m not angry at another person. I’m angry at myself. Angry that I did/didn’t do something that I should have done. Angry that I am reacting in an irrational manner. Angry that I can’t bring myself to do what I know is best. Most of all though, I’m angry that I hurt. I’m angry that I allowed myself to invest in something/someone and then I got hurt when they either blew it or walked away. So which is it? Am I angry or am I hurt?
The two are not mutually exclusive I’m sorry to say. Instead they seem to work hand-in-hand, each one fueling the other and that’s why anger and grudges are so destructive. They destroy friendships, relationships, families, churches, schools, and even countries. One of the defining characteristics of humanity is our capacity for feeling and emotion, but that is both our greatest strength and our greatest vulnerability. When we get angry, more often than not, at the root of that anger, is pain. Then the anger comes and we want others to feel the pain that we feel, we want them to know the hurt and despair. By dwelling in our own pain and allowing anger to overtake us, we subconsciously (and sometimes consciously) set out to inflict our pain on others, whether they rightly deserve it or not.
Now there are those that just walk away and don’t look back when they get angry, but if you walk away from a problem, does it cease to be a problem or have you just walked away? Is walking away truly dealing with the problem? No. If anything, you make it worse on all involved, because it leaves an open wound that continues to cause pain which feeds the anger and resentment that began the problem in the first place.
Don’t let your anger hurt others just because you are hurting. Even if the other person hurt you, the moment you decide to hurt the other person back, you lose any moral high-ground you may have had and cause yourself more pain. If they have done wrong, it is possible to hold them accountable without making it personal and causing undue private pain. Don’t let your anger override your compassion or caring for your fellow man.
Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.
Ephesians 4:25-27 NASB