Last night I walked into the bathroom to brush my teeth like normal. I grabbed my toothpaste. I noticed it was squeezed almost empty by one of the kids. I’m a roller person. I grab my toothpaste and started rolling it up. Then I stepped in front of the mirror. The heal of my foot stepped into something warmish and slimy. I looked down to see cat poop. Disgust was my first emotion, then anger. My first thought was “Why did the cat’s poop on the carpet?” Which my brain replied was, “You emptied their litter box without refilling it.” I then felt sorry for them and knew they were all inside the house without a working bathroom. My anger towards the cats was gone and only the disgust of having cat poop on my foot was left. I cleaned my foot, cleaned the rug, and put the cats outside until I can get more litter for the litter box. Then I finished brushing my teeth. While brushing my teeth, I planned out how to explain rolling the toothpaste tube to the kids.
“Be angry and sin not” Eph 4:26.
I was angry at the cat poop, but I calmed myself and took compassion on them. I let the anger go. Used the extra energy to clean up and solved the issue.
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” – Eph 4:31-32
The bible is clear on anger. It does exist, but its something we don’t want to keep around. How does one get past anger? Let’s ask some questions
- Why are we angry?
- How does anger get out of control?
- is Love is the answer?
Why am I angry?
According to Gregg Matte, we get angry because of an offense to our Preferences or to God’s Preferences. What are our preferences? Here are some examples from my life of my preferences being offended:
- A manager gives the lazy employee the new position.
- Your back hurts because you walked to fast
- You have internalized Satan’s negativity into your own heart making yourself believe the lies.
- Trying to stay in control
When we get angry, our hearts are exposed for a moment. If we search for the reason for the anger, we can find hidden sin lurking around. This is why God said to Cain, “Sin is lurking at your door. It desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” (Gen 4:7) “Human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” (James 1:20) Our anger only hurts others. In Cain’s example, he killed his brother. I could have let the cat poop anger linger and not slept last night. Instead, I addressed it and resolved it before going to bed.
On the flip side of this is God’s anger. When God’s preferences are being offended, people are helped. Here are a few examples of God’s preferences being offended:
- Weak and defenseless being hurt.
- A group of people being oppressed.
- A pastor leading people into a cult-like church.
- Our/My Sin.
What I find amazing about Godly anger is it helps. In Mark 10:13, Jesus became angry at his disciples for pushing the small children away. He told them to let the children in. Ever since then, the world views children differently. In my personal life, God struck me with non-stop vomiting for a good while which lead me to confess my sins to my wife. Which lead me here.
How does anger get out of control?
“In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” Eph 4:26.
Anger gets out of control when we let it linger inside of us. Imagine a teapot, the fire under it is our anger. More anger we let in, the hotter it gets. Eventually, it explodes, most of the time on someone who doesn’t deserve it. Cain allowed the anger to linger instead of talking to the person who triggered the anger. It exploded on his brother. This led to his brother’s death. I’m guilty of this myself. I allow the anger of the pain I am into fester. I let Satan whisper in my ears, and I don’t handle the stresses from the day to day activities go. When I get home, I shut down. Sometimes it can take an hour just to get me out of my shell. This is a very serious topic. Jesus says to leave your gifts at the altar. Don’t even bother worshiping him with gifts if someone has something against you.
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First, go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” – Matthew 5:23-24
Jesus doesn’t want Satan to have a foot hold in our lives, or in other believers’ lives. If we can resolve it, we should.
How to handle anger?
“A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.” – Proverbs 19:11
“Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.” – Proverbs 14:29
One of the best ways to handle anger is to see what you have been offended by. For myself, it’s controlling. I want to control the situation. Instead, I should pray to the one who has control over the situation. Here are a few pointers I have discovered over my lifetime:
- Just breath
- Do something productive and helpful.
- Just tell Satan to get into his place.
- Let go of my control.
- Loving others.
Loving others is the biggest example I can give. My son is learning how to potty train. He has destroyed my chair because he still hasn’t figured out how to go to the bathroom at night. Instead of becoming angry at this, I see it as he is still learning and peed himself. The poor boy is wet and sticky. When you love someone else, you obey Jesus’s command in John 15:12. “Love one another as I have loved you.” Selfish anger can’t exist while the Holy Spirit is feeding you.
I think I’m noticing a trend this week with waste products…
Avoid Pot Stick Stirrers.
Avoid Hot-tempered people. Like an alcoholic doesn’t need to hang out with other active Alcoholics while recovering, neither does someone with anger need to hang out with someone that is always stirring the pot.
“Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, Do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared.” – Proverbs 22:24
Also, avoid places that you know triggers anger. A sex-addicted shouldn’t go to a strip club. Neither should a person dealing with anger go to a political debate. It’s just logical. This isn’t a free pass to avoid the house or work though. Instead, draw boundary lines on topics that you know stir the pot for you.
Do something with it
Anger produces a lot of energy, do something with it. When I felt that slimy poop on my foot, I could have let the anger linger. I could have lashed out at the cat. Instead, I took petty on them. Cleaned it up and got the cats outside. Then I brushed my teeth.
Have you ever heard of angry cleaning? I saw it a lot with my mom and dad. They would get angry at each other and then clean. Dad would do the laundry and dishes. Mom would sweep a room or do eBay work. After they calmed down, they talked it out. That extra energy anger produces sometimes needs to be used before you continue.
Finally, let it go. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Eph 4:32
Scripture to remember:
- Eph 4:26 “In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”
- Psalms 37:8 “Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.”
- Proverbs 14:29 “Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.”
- Proverbs 15:1 “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
- Proverbs 15:18 “A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.”
- Proverbs 22: 24 “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered,25 or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared.”
- Romans 12:19-21 “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
- Psalm 4:4 “Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent.”
- Proverbs 29:9 “If a wise person goes to court with a fool, the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace.”