Summary: This message seeks to provide practical insights concerning anger in a person’s life.
I Have a Friend Who Struggles With Anger
Dr. Marty Baker
Stevens Creek Community Church
October 28, 2001
When was the last time you were overcome with anger? What made you mad? Did someone try to trick you? Cheat you? Did somebody do something or say something to you? How did you handle it?
Maybe some of you are like the guy in this video clip that is secretly involved in a taste test for decaffeinated coffee? He is minding his own business, enjoying a nice evening out with his wife, when his world is interrupted with the unexpected. Let’s take a look at his reaction on the side screens. (Chris Farley Clip)
Angry. Hopefully we do not respond like that, but on occasion we may fantasize about the possibility. There are not too many things that make me real angry, but I have to admit that I wrestle with anger at times. Like last Sunday, the service went well. I enjoyed a nice lunch. I made it home in time to catch up on the latest news on the war front. I picked up the Augusta Chronicle and read the editorial page. Did you see it?
Suzanne Downing highlighted the recent case where People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (i.e. PETA) requested the University of South Carolina to change it’s mascot from Gamecocks to something else. They cited that our beloved mascot promotes a hideous blood sport that, like spousal abuse, bank robbery and driving while intoxicated, is illegal in South Carolina. Ms. Downing concludes with these words: "PETA has it priorities in order, indicating it’s one organization that’s getting back to normal."1
My blood began to simmer. I could feel the hair rising on the back of my neck. I thought: "The nerve of these people moving into our area and trying to rewrite history." You see they don’t understand that the Gamecocks were named after Thomas Sumter, the last surviving general of the American Revolution. As he fought it was said that he was as tenacious as a fighting gamecock. When it came time to choose a mascot, it was only fitting to connect the school with a winning history.
In the office this week, I was venting my frustration concerning the mascot challenge, when my personal assistant said, "Oh, by the way I’ve been a member of PETA." My heart sank because I knew that they had infiltrated the ranks.
Anger ... It’s the emotion that will "get you riled up."
Anger ... It will cause your blood pressure to rise and your adrenaline to rush.
Anger ... It may cause you to put your mouth in motion before you get your mind in gear.
Anger ... It may encourage you to do things that you will later regret.
We’ve all been victims of its terror and, sadly to say, perpetrators of its pain. Rarely a day goes by that we all don’t feel some form of anger. That’s why it’s important to talk about our anger -- what it is, where it comes from, and how we can learn to handle it in constructive ways. Only when the roots of our anger are exposed can we defuse its explosive potential.
To begin with, it is important to understand that anger is one of the most basic human emotions. It is a "God-given" emotion. Everyone gets angry. It’s a feeling of being against someone or something. The problems is that anger has a tendency to set people against each other, or even against themselves.
When anger is unleashed in our lives, it can feel like an inner fire. It hits you in the gut. You see red and feel hot and sweaty. You perspire, your nostrils may flare, and your jaw tightens. You are visibly irritated. You feel like you are going to explode. It’s painful, but we all know that explosive anger is not the only kind that’s deadly.
At times anger disguises itself behind the masks of silence, cynicism or passive-aggressive behaviors like pouting, stubbornness, gossip, procrastination and agrumentativeness. Anger looks like compliance on the outside, but on the inside resentment and hostility are raging just beneath the surface.
Anger is a lot like energy - it cannot be destroyed, only stored or altered to another form. When we fail to deal with our anger, it pushes its way into souls and troubles our minds, impedes our relationships and can even produce physical problems.
Learning how to handle our anger becomes an important part of our lives. If you don’t learn how to handle your anger, you are going to end up like O.J. Simpson, spending your days and your money on attorney’s fees dodging convictions right and left.
This morning I want to talk about positive ways to handle your anger. Hopefully this talk will help some of you come to terms with the emotions that are raging inside of you. Why are you so mad? When we answer that question we begin a process of working through our anger.