I was in Kroger’s the other day, and after I yanked a grocery cart from the hungry jaws of buggy land, I rolled it to the aisle, turned around to pick up a can of coffee, turned back around and discovered a strange woman standing next to my buggy with her purse in it. “Oh,” I stammered, “Uh, I just rolled that buggy in here—it’s my buggy.” Her response, “No, can’t you see my purse is in it, so it’s mine.” It took me a while, but I finally muttered, “Well, if I had put my wallet in your car, would that make it mine?” But by that time, she was hurrying away…with my buggy!
Suddenly, I felt like a victim. There I stood, can off coffee in hand with no where to put it. I could feel my blood pressure rising. Something came over me that was not admirable. I felt like the old Quaker when a car came by and splashed him with water. He bowed his head and prayed, “May your soul rest in Heaven, and the sooner, the better.” Well, that evening, I had a headache that would put all headaches to shame. I realized again that anger can eat you up; giving you all kinds of aches. It took me a couple of days before I could laugh about it and realize that I was truly sweating the small stuff. Also, I missed a great opportunity to say to her, “Oh, you wan this buggy? Here, let me push it for you.” Yeah, right! But seriously, I did miss the chance to smile and say, “You can have it. I’ll go out and get another one.” Case dismissed.
Anger is a natural human emotion, and is God’s way of empowering us to protect ourselves and others from harm. So the problem isn’t anger, it’s what we do with it that matters. Uncontrolled anger can be lethal. Even if you have all the talent and money in the world, a short fuse and a hot temper can turn you into a nobody; somebody that nobody wants to be around. And the sad thing about it is that many people don’t understand how their anger can affect their marriage, friendships and working relationships as well as their own health. Uncontrolled anger can corrupt corporations, governments and even start wars. It can be an emotional addiction that wreaks havoc everywhere it turns. Many use their cars as weapons on the highways to express their impatience and resentments, thus causing deadly crashes. Road rage is much too common.
It’s important to remember that you are the only one who can control your temper. If you’ve had an abusive childhood, please get professional help before you hurt your own kids, thus perpetuating the cycle of abuse. Parents create memories for their children and adults can store unhealed memories of earlier experiences that need to be healed. Happiness is a natural state of mind, but how many people go through life feeling miserable because that haven’t learned how to hold their tongue or heal their wounds?
“A soft answer turns away wrath; but a harsh word stirs up anger,” so wrote the author of Proverbs (15:1). A good word for married couples as well as for the rest of us is, “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger” (Ephesians 4:26). I recommend the book “Let the Tiger Out, But Keep it on a Leash” by Mary Ellen Halloran.
I will leave you with this final word: Uncontrolled anger is a spiritual problem; an unholy spirit, if you please. Worst of all, it can take over the body, mind and spirit and can put a barrier between you and God. So, from now on, if someone tries to steal my buggy at Kroger, I’ll forgive them on the spot. Amen.