I often hear the phrase “I don’t get mad, I get even.” I want to ask “Why does it matter? What have you gained from anger? Is your satisfaction really derived from the feeling of a settled score?”
The true test of one’s resolve is in patience and being slow to anger.
The Road “Often” Traveled
The commonly traveled road leads directly to anger. This road often leads to unpredictability, aggression, regret, fear, doubt, self loathing, loneliness and even depression. The road has many opportunities to make an exit, yet we’re so often blinded by our own pride that we fail to see anything within our peripheral vision. Call it “wearing blinders” or experiencing tunnel vision. We become so myopic in our perspective of life that we feel anyone who asserts themselves against us are taking something away and we feel the score must be settled. Something must be balanced.
I say change your view. Feel replenished by other means. Peace, religion, forgiveness, and understanding can often send a more powerful message than a harsh word. Do not let thoughts of retribution control your life. Why give a person or situation control over how you feel and react?
Anger Isn’t Wrong
The feelings associated with anger are expected. There should be no guilt in feeling angry. As told in the New Testament of the Bible, Christ overturned tables, but it was controlled anger. The feeling of anger is not the issue. It’s how you respond. I tell my children it’s ok to become upset with each other. It is not ok to hurt or demean each other.
Redirecting Anger is Not a Sign of Weakness
Let the reader know, I’m not saying we should cave during the slightest hint of conflict. If this were so our world may not exist as it does and that could be bad. If one were to use anger as a tool, redirect it to the overall problem. Someone wrongs you. Why? Often there is no logical reason. Redirect your anger by leading by example. Focus your efforts on protecting the innocent and teaching others how best to handle conflict. Sometimes protecting the innocent requires much more than simple discussions. Occasionally it requires a strong message.
War is a By-Product of Anger
One of the worst events in my own lifetime occurred on September 11th, 2001. After the dust settled and a likely group responsible was found, the United State chose to retaliate. Was this wrong? I don’t think so. In my own opinion, we redirected our our anger to prevent a future attack, or to take away the means of our enemy to inflict further damage. War is never good, but is often a means to prevent even further losses. As one who preaches forgiveness, I, like many other 18-20 something aged Americans at that time had thoughts of enlisting in the military. Many successfully did so. Had my physical health been better I would have. A cousin of mine, Rusty Whitt, chose to enlist and our family is very proud of him for doing so. You can watch a video that ESPN featured him in a few years back.
War is a by-product that brings in a side who most likely never desired to engage, but is now required to. It comes down to who threw the first punch.
The complexities of terrorism are too detailed for myself to explain or even comprehend. How a massive group of people are able to be indoctrinated with such hate and violence are beyond my understanding. It has been bred from misunderstanding, pride placed in the wrong areas, and unchecked anger. I’m not qualified to offer a solution to this. The anger we feel towards these hostile groups is understood.
Closer to Home; Anger as Retaliation
I’ve used the example of war acting as a protective means. I still stand by war sometimes being necessary. Since most of us are not high level military strategists we can leave those decisions to them. With that said, think about the areas we do have control over. For most, your home, classroom, or workplace are within your domain and sphere of influence. Too often I witness situations where people become angry with another person and what’s usually the first thing someone does? They find their closest friend and immediately vent their frustration about what happened. A certain level of venting is normal and healthy, especially if your friend knows that you’re just venting. It’s when you intentionally and consistently find ways of expressing someone’s faults to others which in turn brings down their value and can lead to overall morale issues in your group. These are toxic methods of dealing with anger and will result in future problems. An experienced leader must often find those toxic influencers and remove them. Perhaps they’re great at their job function, but if their actions are negatively affecting morale, changes are often needed.
I’m reminded of Matthew 6:14-15
v14 For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. v15 But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions. (NASB)
Just remember these things.
- Anger is normal.
- Uncontrolled anger can be disastrous.
- Know when to exit.
- Anger can be redirected.
- Strive to forgive and not let the person or situation control your thoughts.
As always, have a good day.