Have you ever met someone who has the ability to make you roaring mad? The other day it happened to me and I’ll admit it caught me by surprise..
I’m not known as an angry person. At the beginning of our relationship, after Phyllis and I had been going together for several months, she said to me, “What does it take to make you mad? I’ve never seen you mad.”
She’s hasn’t said that for 44 years. She found the secret. (Actually, we’re always on our good behavior until we get the girl, isn’t that right guys?”)
Well, the other day I was talking to this lady on the phone. She works in an administrative office here in Saint Maur. She was telling me that a paper that I had sent her wouldn’t work. I told her that I didn’t have the paper she was looking for because someone in another administrative position had told me to do something else, which I had obediently done.
So, I was right.
But, she was convinced that she was right. It actually turned out that the other administrative person hadn’t counseled me correctly. I was right in my heart because I had done what the authorities said.
She could care less that I was right in my heart. That wasn’t her problem. Her problem was that the “i’s” weren’t dotted and the “t’s” weren’t crossed.
No matter that this was going to cause me some headaches.
The tone amped up a bit on one end of the phone, then on the other, then on the other again. At the last I was ready to throw the phone against the wall (I didn’t).
We ended the conversation on a frosty note.
For the next hour I replayed that conversation over and over again. I told her ‘how it was » in the imaginary cat fight we had. Of course she couldn’t hear me, which was probably fortunate. I wondered how someone so obtuse could land in a position like that, etc.
Then I stopped. “No, no! She’s not going to steal my joy.” And I tried to practice what I preach. I praised the Lord a bit; I sifted through my mental files looking for joyful stuff to think about.
And I caught myself berating that lady again in my mind.
“No, no! Stop! This is ridiculous.” And I noticed I had become discouraged and negative about life in general.
Well, after a time I got the genie back in the bottle and it wasn’t so bad. The next day I tried to get the situation straightened out. I saw the lady and made a lukewarm apology (she offered nothing. If you work in an administrative office you’re right. Grrrr … nope, I’m not going to that mental place again).
So, to make a short story long, it’s looks like I’m going to be inconvenienced for a few months until another administrative office gets me the paper this lady wants.
I see you grinning. I’m going to laugh at you the next time you blow up about a situation!
“Mad” Isn’t Always Bad
Let’s be honest. It happens to us all at times. We’re human.
And some anger is good. People like William Wilberforce got angry at slavery and changed the world. Some things we need to be angry about. God gets angry and certainly His anger is righteous.
Unfortunately most of my anger isn’t in that category.
When someone acts unjustly towards us we get angry. Unfaithful companions, thick-headed bosses, ungrateful family members, cheats, thieves and liars all cause our blood pressure to rise.
It’s inevitable. And anger can finally push you to positive action.
Anger can also kill you. Pent-up anger can cause physical ailments, depression, change your personality, and generally ruin most of your days as it burns on just beneath the surface in your life.
And if you don’t deal with it, anger breaches the dike so that other sins can rush through behind it.
Blowing Up Is No Solution
What’s even stranger, anger expressed often increases our rage instead of decreasing it. And expressed anger can up the ante and make a simple situation very complicated.
God knows we get angry but he warns us to get over it. Paul knew a bit about anger and he warns us, “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” (Ephesians 4:26, 27 NIV)
You want to know what’s the worst thing about anger. If you don’t deal with it you BECOME an angry person. And that ain’t pretty. It’s not pretty for those who deal with you either.
This is way too big for one week so we’ll continue next week with __ Ways To Deal With Anger (I haven’t decided how many ways yet. Why don’t you help me—and the other Coffee Stainers. Have you dealt with anger? How did you respond?)
Photo: Flickr, Creative Commons, Josh Janssen ANGRY-ANN: