Words of Worth

A Crock Pot Mentality of Anger

October 18, 2013


Be angry and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah

Psalm 4:4

Recently there has been a rash of road rage incidents reported on the news as well as in my hometown. Psych0lgists tell us this rage is just one manifestation of how angry our society really is and the psychological advice on how to control this anger is as varied as the cars on the highways.  I remember reading an article in “Psychology Today” years ago in which a woman wrote about her angry brother.  She told the magazine that when her brother was a young boy he was encouraged by health professionals to ventilate that anger by kicking a trash can.  Some thirty years later, she reported, he is still angry and kicking his wife and kids!

Since anger is an emotion God has given to us, it is not wrong to ever be angry. God’s word says “be slow to anger” and “be angry and sin not” (James 1:19; Ephesians 4:26). So the goal isn’t to never be angry. The goal is to deal with anger the “right way” when it is present.  The goal isn’t “no anger “or “blowing anger”; the goal is to be “slow to anger”.

So how can we be slow to anger?  Thomas Jefferson suggested, “When angry count to ten before you speak. If very angry, count to one hundred.” Abraham Lincoln, who was said to be a reserved person, was slow to anger and able to keep a good rein on his tongue when he did get upset.  He did this was by writing a letter to whomever was the transgressor, and then folding it up and putting it into his pocket or in his desk drawer to slow cook for a few days.  Then he would feel better and retrieve the letter and toss it into the trash, thankful he hadn’t sent the letter while he was angry.

Another way to be slow to anger is to simply ask ourselves, when frustrated and emotional, “What am I defending?” We cannot avoid anger in a fallen world, nor are we called to do so.  In both Psalm 4:4 and Ephesians 4:26, the emphasis is not on anger, but on being angry over things that are worth our anger such as injustice and unrepentant sin.  When we are angry we are defending something and more often than not it is our ego. Someone may have safely switched lanes on the highway and in so doing gotten in front of us on the road. Our angry response, “How dare someone cut in front of me!” is defending our ego. On the other hand, someone may have humiliated and bullied a child and our angry response, “How dare someone treat a person that way!” is defending the injustice done to a defenseless child.

What’s slow cooking in y0ur crock pot today?


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