Summary: This series examines some of the emotional holes we fall into and how we can crawl out.

February 10, 2002

Jonah 4

“Crawling Out of the Anger Hole”

In a biography of the life of Mikey Mantle there is a story told about a hunting trip that Mikey and Billy Martin took together in the off season in the early sixties. Mikey Mantle was known as much for his excesses as he was for his prodigious home run power. Mikey hit hard, played hard, drank hard and when Mikey got angry, it was said that he burned hotter than most anyone and was capable of anything during his fits of anger. On this particular hunting trip the”Mick” and Billy Martin (by the way, Martin is also known for his ability to go off the deep as well) traveled to upstate New York to hunt deer on the farm of a friend of Mikey’s. Upon arriving at his friends farm, Mikey left the truck to notify the friend that they would be hunting on his farm that day. The friend agreed but asked Mikey to do a favor for him. The friend had an old mule that was very sick and the friend wanted to put the poor animal out of his misery but didn’t have the heart to do it so he asked Mikey if he would stop at the barn down the road and “put him down” for him. Mikey agreed but thought he would play a practical joke on Billie Martin as well as doing a favor for a friend. Mikey stormed out of the house, jumped in the truck, hurled a few expletives at the man and told Billie that the man had refused to let them hunt. As they drove past the barn, Mikey stated, “I’ll show that blankety-blank. I’m going to go in that barn and shoot his favorite mule, you can’t do this to Mikey Mantle and Billie Martin.” He threw the truck into reverse and skidded to a stop in the barn yard road. Mikey strutted into the barn, leveled his gun at the mule and “blam”, shoots the animal dead. As Mikey is checking to make sure the mule is dead, he hears two gun shots from the barn yard. He ran out to find Billie Martin outside the truck with his rifle against his shoulder. Mikey asked, “Martin, What in the ____ are you doing?” Martin yelled back, “We’ll show that so-and-so, I just shot two of his cows.”

One might wonder how Martin could get caught up in a practical joke to that degree. But, apparently he had seen Mikey do some things in anger and thought that he was capable of getting angry enough and losing control enough to shoot a friend’s mule dead.

Have you ever shot any mules? Are you capable of shooting mules? Have others seen a side of you that would lead them to believe that you are capable of such fits of anger?

We are an angry society. You cannot pick up a single paper or magazine today that doesn’t include some kind of description of anger gone amuck. Anger almost defines who we are: Red faced babies, angry at parents who don’t give them what they want, teenagers angry at school officials and defiantly scream, “I hate you.” Adults angry at the distracted driver who just squeezed into the traffic on the Lloyd flipping them off or seniors angry at everyone because time and chance happens to us all, even when we don’t want it to.

I am reminded about the story about the elderly woman preparing to park her expensive Cadillac when a young high school student cut her off and stole her parking space. The young man jumped from his car and yelled, “Oh, to be young and fast. The older woman backed her car up, then floored it and started using it as a battering ram to demolish the young man’s car. She then rolled down her window and shouted, “Oh to be old and rich.”

Or, how about Guy Boos who in September 1999 was arrested in Wisconsin because he let his anger get the best of him. His washing machine was acting up so he pushed it out the door, down a flight of stairs and then got his .25 caliber pistol and shot the machine three times. Whether it’s road rage or appliance rage, anger is a big problem.

It was no less a problem for Jonah than for us. He was, as the scripture says, “Greatly displeased and became very angry.” It happens, we get angry and quite often we don’t really know why we’re angry. We are ill equipped to handle anger and we may even have no right to be angry. Today we will explore what we do when we get angry, the types of anger we see in scripture and what the Bible tells us we should do about that anger and I will conclude with some steps to help you handle your anger.

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