It certainly doesn’t happen all of the time. However, it is often enough for me to consider how my anger affects others around me. Sometimes, when I feel that my mind is on overload, I tend to begin getting irritated with things and people. It’s becoming more clear to me as to why thoughts of anger and even outbursts at times happen. Here are some reasons for my anger.
First, if I am focused on getting something completed, say a project or a lesson or some other thing, I really don’t like being disturbed. I know that my train of thought can be cut off rather quickly if I’m distracted by some mundane task or by someone who just wants to sit and talk about whatever or if someone interrupts my train of thought with a ton of questions, then its tough to get back on track. You see, disturbance when I’m deep in my thoughts, breaks the cycle of completion for me–at least in my mind. It’s as if the train has derailed in my mind and it is going to take extra time and effort to get that train back on the tracks. And in the meantime, the delivery that the train is supposed to make is not happening in the time I’ve allotted myself to complete the action or task.
Second, sometimes I just like to be alone. I realize that isolation is not necessarily a good thing, but sometimes it is a good thing. Sometimes, after a long day or week or month of work and ministry, I just need time to get alone with the Lord and think through things that I deal with from day-to-day. It’s not the easiest thing to pastor people because you not only have your own baggage, but you take on more baggage from others. Now don’t misunderstand me. It’s a pleasure doing what I do professionally, but sometimes I need the rest, sometimes I just need to sit back and not think about all the people who are hurting, those who are hospitalized, those who are dying, those who are…the list can go on and on. Sometimes I just need to take a step back and recover from someone who’s upset with me and has let me know in a non-Christian way because they think that pastors are supposed to just roll over and not say anything in response (these are “joy-in-ministry killers”). Sometimes I just need to try to stop thinking (which I think is impossible).
Third, sometimes people around me can just do things that I think are stupid. There’s a huge difference in being ignorant and being stupid. Being ignorant is just not knowing how to do something or not knowing what’s going on around you. Being stupid is knowing what and how you are supposed to do something and not doing it. I have a hard time when people do stupid things. But it’s not just because they are doing stupid things, it helps me to see when I’ve done stupid things as well! It is a huge irritation on my part when I do something stupid. People are mirrors: you see yourself in others in ways that you don’t like at times. For instance, when someone on the road does something stupid, I want to let them know how stupid it is and then I find myself doing the exact same thing: cutting someone off to get one car ahead, switching from one lane to another as I’m speeding down the highway, etc. People are mirrors and I can see myself in others’ actions and words when I get angry about stuff.
Finally, there are times that I want justice…for others…not myself. What I mean by this is that I really want justice in the world. When someone does something wrong I want those who did the wrong to be held to account. I on the other hand, when I do something wrong, don’t necessarily want the justice that is due me because I know that justice may very well be painful. And when someone points out my wrongs, it’s frustrating to me because I think I should’ve known better than to do that which requires justice to be doled out. Moreover, it proves to me all the more how far short I fall from being the man that I believe I am to be in Jesus Christ.
Anger is just frustrating! Frustration is just anger! I think what I need to do to rid myself of anger is to stop being angry. But it is an idol of the heart which is sinful because God has said that there is to be no other god before Him. And idols of the heart are putting gods before Him. I’m realizing that this anger that I’ve had for most of my life is sinful. It is not due to any one thing or any one person except myself. Anger is a choice to live by. Anger is something that I decide to control or not control. Anger is something that I can release and need to. But I cannot do it alone. I need help with my anger and that help can only come from the change of mind and heart by God and through others.
It’s hard to write confessional posts like this, but it is therapeutic as I think through my life and unload my baggage. We’ve all got baggage. Mine just happens to be a load of anger.
Jesus said: You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. Truly I say to you, you will not come out of there until you have paid up the last cent. (Matthew 5:21-26)