I’ll try not to tread the same ground we already covered together in this post, but, you know, there are times in life when clear themes emerge. God is obviously talking to me – quite loudly and repeatedly – about anger and choices. We could place both of these topics under the heading, “Responsibility.”
What is my responsibility?
Let me just throw something out there: Do you suppose that a lot of our anger comes from not knowing what we are in control of and what we aren’t? Do you think that much of our anger is misplaced? Clearly I am not addressing what is called “appropriate” or “righteous” anger. You should feel angry when you’ve been violated or abused. That kind of anger motivates you to address the wrongdoing.
I’m thinking of a more vague, bubbling kind of anger. This is the kind of emotion that makes you want to blow up at your coworker for being slow in his tasks or shake your kid for talking in that weird accent. It’s too big for the moment. It doesn’t really make any sense.
This is the kind of anger that’s actually looking for a fight.
An angry [wo]man stirs up strife, and a furious [wo]man abounds in transgressions. – Proverbs 29:22 (NKJV)
I wish I could be all saintly and say that I’ve never felt this way or been motivated by it, but, sadly, many times I find myself acting out of anger. I can’t point to any person other than myself when I think about the marks of an angry woman:
1. She is subtly cutting. She will sound sweet, but she isn’t.
2. She freezes you out for no apparent reason.
3. She delights in playing people off each other.
4. She wants to be crabbby.
5. Her sarcasm knows no bounds.
6. Nor does her appetite for juicy gossip.
7. She is flat-out MEAN. Hurtful-on-purpose.
I don’t like that portrait. I don’t like it at all. I don’t want that to be me.
This has got to be why Paul, under the inspiration of the Spirit, wrote that we should “not let the sun go down while [we] are still angry” (Ephesians 4:26b). Anger that isn’t immediately and properly dealt with quickly becomes controlling. There’s no way to keep this tiger in its cage. The original offense might be stuffed into the subconscious, but the world and everyone in it is going to pay for it!
I have chosen to feed my anger. I have often been incapable of setting appropriate boundaries, in knowing what I am and what I am not responsible for, because of this monster. Make no mistake: it is a monster. A dark monster that clouds the vision while convincing the mind that all is clear.
There is something particularly vicious about a woman’s anger. I can’t define the difference between what I see in myself and what I see in my husband, but it exists. Perhaps it is the length of time or the tightness of grip. How quickly can a woman dredge up five years’ worth of offenses in answering the question, “What’s wrong?” I don’t know a single man with that ability.
I don’t want to be the woman who stirs up strife. The kind of woman who delights in making people fight… That makes me shudder. How manipulative! No wonder anger and sin are so closely linked. It’s a short step from one to the other.
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. – Galatians 5:13-15 (NKJV)
Sweet friends, let’s not destroy each other!