Friday, 26 October 2012

Are You Angry - Part I

Frederick Buechner
“Of the Seven Deadly Sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back -- in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you.” Frederick Buechner

 I prefer “get annoyed” to anger.  I get annoyed when I click my computer mouse too fast and wind up where I don’t want to be.  I get annoyed with people who want to drive below the speed limit or who tailgate me.  I get annoyed at the numerous solicitation and political phone calls we receive.  Call it what you will, i.e. frustration, anger, irritation, etc. they are all pretty much the same and in most cases so is the cause.

The brother of Jesus nailed it when he wrote, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight.”  What causes me to get annoyed, angry, frustrated or irritated boils down to the same thing – it’s all about me – my needs, my wants and my desires. News flash -  the earth is still revolving but not around me and not around you.

Dave Powlison, nationally known author, counselor and lecturer, defines anger as follows:

Anger is your God-given capacity to respond to a wrong that you think is important. It always expresses two things:

  • It identifies something in your world that matters to you.
  • It proclaims that you believe that something is wrong.
This could be something as minor as being served a cold cup of coffee at a restaurant. Or it could be something as major as your spouse running off with your best friend.

David Powlison
Powlison goes on to say that there are certainly times when a person is justified in being upset or angry.  It is only right that people be honest in their dealings with you; it is only right that your children should be respectful; and it is only right that your spouse be truthful.

But when fulfilling your desires, even for a good thing, becomes more important than anything else, that's when it changes into a "desire of the flesh" (Galatians 5:16). You want it too much.

Even righteous indignation, which frankly is rarely what has caused our anger, should be handled in a manner that glorifies God.

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