You see red.
Your blood pulses, your breath quickens and your thoughts fly.
You surge with energy… too much energy.
You don’t know what to do with it. You don’t know where it’s come from, but something small, something you normally wouldn’t get upset over, has set it off. It’s a raging bull inside of you, sprinting towards something, anything, even if it is self-destructive in the process.
Have you ever felt this way? I know I have.
I’m pretty passive and my “anger levels” are like a pan with water in it on a stove. If something frustrating happens, the heat dial gets turned up. The more things happen, the higher the dial gets and in no time at all, the water can become a simmer to a boil and then it can start foaming over the top uncontrollably.
We are pretty good at recognizing when we are foaming over the top, but sometimes, that can be too late to deal with anger when it reaches that point.
“‘Be angry, and do not sin’: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, and don’t give the devil an opportunity.” (Ephesians 4:27-28)
It’s OK to feel angry at times. Sometimes, it is impossible not to be, especially if someone cuts you off in traffic or is intentionally malicious or condescending towards you. We are allowed to simmer, maybe even boil, but foaming over is NOT beneficial and when we react impulsively, we are acting on our “gut-instinct”, which often, is not in a spirit of love.
The “love chapter” says this regarding anger:
“Love is patient, love is kind… it is not easily angered.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5).
“Love takes a deep breath, catches itself at a simmer and intentionally turns the dial down before it can get to a boil or foaming over.”
When we “see red” and act out of anger, we can hurt more than just ourselves, others might take a hit in the process which we may regret later.
James also gives similar advice:
Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. (James 1:19)
All of this is easier said than done, even for the little things. Even if we stub our toe and get mad or get stuck behind a car going 10 under the speed limit. . . but it’s crucial in the big things to be able to stop from completely boiling over.
I don’t know how many times I’ve said things during a disagreement out of heat and anger and regretted them later.
I don’t know how many times I wish I could take minutes or hours back that I wasted being angry which prevented me from finding joy and being grateful for all the wonderful things happening around me.
I don’t know how many times my anger has simmered and simmered and by the time it reaches a boiling point over something small, I don’t know the root of my anger because I have refused to let something go that others have probably forgotten about.
Forgiveness cancels out anger and the bitterness that can come from it. If you overcook something, you are left with a burnt something. And no one likes hanging out around burnt people or the prospect of becoming a burnt person.
Anger is part of our carnal nature. From the time we were two and knew when something was “mine”, we would get angry if someone took it away from us as we didn’t really like “sharing”.
We will get angry from time to time, but how do you deal with it?
Do you let it simmer until eventually it boils, and it becomes so hot that it is hard to stop?
Or do you know when you are simmering and know when to turn to God and pray through your anger? Not an easy task to do. But if you ever want to read some prayers of an angry person, check out some of David’s psalms, he doesn’t hold any of his feelings back from God and is able to work through his emotions and trust in his creator.
Let’s be wise. Think before we speak, listen more and try to see more than just red!