It was not the sound I wanted to hear. A massive thud, followed by my son saying these words, “Daddy is going to be so mad at me…” I was in the other room reading when I heard what sounded like our new 50” flat screen television falling to the ground, potentially shattering to pieces, and making a massive dent in the hardwood floors. Somehow the television survived the fall. The floors do in fact have a nice dent in them. Hearing my son say the words, “Daddy is going to be so mad at me,” reminds me of how I can be very broken as a father in my own household without even being aware of it.
I have had a lifetime relationship with… anger. Maybe it’s because I grew up playing way too much competitive golf, maybe it’s because I was a Cleveland Browns’ fan through the 1990’s, or maybe it’s because something deep inside of me wants to secretly control things so that all of the outcomes of life happen according to… my plan.
If you and I were to poll 100 Americans today and really ask a few good questions it would not take very long to discover that at a core level close to 99.9% of us are angry about something:
Work – not enough pay; their boss; etc…
Marriage – not enough sex; too many demands; no sensitivity
The Government – too many taxes, not enough services, too war hungry, too involved in areas they need to get out of…
Family – Father, Sibling, Parents
Church – the Pastor, the Worship, the Kids ministry, etc…
One of the fundamental causes for anger in our lives (mine included) is the that you and I stop believing that God is willing to be good to you whether your situation changes or not. You stop believing that your life is going to be a blessed life, if you just trust God and obey him and don’t sin. You stop believing that God will provide for you and you think that you have to make your own way. I have to fend for myself even if it involves disobeying God. “I have to explode in this situation” because there is no other option.
Let me suggest two ideas as a potential cure for our anger problems.
#1 You and I are not in control! That’s a good thing. We cannot control every detail of our lives and we must discover the rest and peace that surpasses our understanding or we will live in the torment of wanting to BE what we are NOT – God.
#2 You and I have been given so much! Dan Allender writes this, “The extent to which someone truly loves will be positively correlated to the degree the person is stunned and silenced by the wonder that his huge debt has been canceled.” When we acknowledges God’s moment by moment grace towards us – even in moments where we can’t make sense of the outcomes – we can live free from the tyranny of anger in our lives.
For most of us, dealing with our anger is a worthy investment. If we don’t admit, acknowledge it, and resist it – it can ruin our lives. Below are a few helpful pieces I have been and will continue to work through in this area of my life.
1. Anger: Escaping the Maze, by David Powlison
2. Uprooting Anger: Biblical Help for a Common Problem, by Robert Jones
3. Spurgeon’s Sorrows: Realistic Hope for those who Suffer from Depression, by Zack Eswine
4. Awe: Why It Matters for Everything We Think, Say, and Do, by Paul Tripp