Summary: I don’t know about you, but I am sick and tired of letting the Anger Monster take over moments of my life and rob me of all of these things. It’s time to fight back, time to tame the Anger Monster!
TAMING THE ANGER MONSTER
Rev. Todd G. Leupold
Perth Bible Church, Wednesday PM, April 28,2010
There was a long period of time in my house in which it was no longer good enough or desirous to my children for me to just be “Daddy.” Oh, no, they had a much different identity in mind for me. Only my problems with my knees have somewhat diminished the constant insistence that I be this something else. Instead of “daddy” they just wanted the Cookie Monster to chase them around and gobble them up. Only sometimes, when I’ve had a particularly long day and/or am just plain tired and cranky and they keep pushing me they get a very different monster indeed – the Anger Monster! I’m sure it must be very difficult for any of you to image or picture me ever turning into the Anger Monster. But, yes, once in a blue moon it can occur. Yeah, hon, just once in a very blue moon though of course.
Sure, I know I’m guilty at times – too many times. Aren’t we all? I mean who doesn’t get stressed out in this fast-paced, time-starved culture we live in and far too often allow and to dictate our lives? Anyone knows that fatigue leads to stress leads to irritability leads to insensitivity leads to isolation and even anger. Please understand, I do not in any way say this to excuse my or anyone else’s unhealthy anger, but to point out how easy and common it is for us to struggle with all of the things that so easily lead to anger as well as the anger itself.
The Anger Monster is big, bad and ug-ly! It jumps right down our throats and into our belly, taking control of our mind and body. It then zaps us of our joy, peace and reason. As the ancient philosopher, Petrarch, once said: “There are 4 great habits to peace that inhabit us – anger, ambition, envy and pride. If these enemies were to be banished, we should infallibly enjoy perpetual peace.”
Not only that, but the Anger Monster actually threatens our physical being and even our very lives – not to mention the lives and welfare of others! This past November, the American Psychological Association released a study which revealed that (at least in men) high hostility levels may actually be an even higher predictor of heart disease than cigarette smoking, weight, alcohol consumption, diet, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. And in 1994 the Gallup Organization released a report which revealed a direct correlation between hostility and death rates. That is, the cities that rated the highest on the hostility index also had the highest death rates. Commenting on this study, Dr. Redford Williams of Duke University Medical School said, “Anger kills. There is a strong correlation between hostility and death rates. The angrier people are and the more cynical they are, the shorter their life span.” Anybody getting nervous yet?
I don’t know about you, but I am sick and tired of letting the Anger Monster take over moments of my life and rob me of all of these things. It’s time to fight back, time to tame the Anger Monster!
Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.
WHAT IS ANGER?
Random House defines anger as, “a strong feeling of displeasure and belligerence.”
Dr. Timothy Clinton, a Christian therapist and president of the American Association of Christian Counselors has an even better definition: “Anger is a God-given emotion in response to a real or perceived (felt) injustice or wrong-doing in our life.”
Anger can be hidden or open, brief or last decades. If left alone it WILL escalate to resentment and even rage.
I.LEVELS OF ANGER
Dr. Clinton has identified five levels of anger. Sometimes we start at the first and gradually move up the scale. Other times we jump right up to the top.
1.Irritation – a feeling of discomfort brought about by someone or something.
2.Indignation – a feeling that something must be answered; there must be a correcting of that which is wrong.
3.Wrath – giving expression to a strong desire to avenge.
4.Fury – the loss of emotional control.
5.Rage – a temporary loss of control involving acts of violence. The angry person scarcely realizes what he or she has done.
Or, as has often been said: Some of us are microwaves who heat up real quick but then cool down just as quick. Others are like crockpots which just slowly simmer and simmer for very long periods of time – never quite blowing the top off, but not cooling down either. And still others of us are pressure cookers, which just keep stuffing it all in and trying to screw the lead down tight until it just can’t hold it anymore and “thar she blows”!