Ed, my neighbor next door, has his angry side like we all do. Recently, Ed’s been steamed up and ready to explode. Usually, Ed has a long fuse and can take a good amount of irritation before he blows up in anger, but not the last few weeks. Ruby claims almost anything can have Ed bristling and barking in a temper. Of course, Ed did not see it that way and said Ruby was just imagining a grumpiness that wasn’t there. That lead to a challenge that Ed could not go five days in a row without blowing up in anger.
The five days were full of reasons for Ed to get angry. The part to fix his tractor finally arrived along with a bill that had Ed slamming the door of the Quonset, since he couldn’t call the company and yell at them in anger. Ruby claimed slamming the door was an explosion of anger, but Ed explained he was just getting bursts of fresh air, because the cost of the tractor part was so high he could not breathe.
Ed was having coffee with the guys when Karl got carried away talking nonsense about spraying so that Ed had to go to the washroom twice. He had to walk away or he would tell Karl how he didn’t know his head from a hole in the ground. He almost held is temper until Karl began comparing John Deere and Case tractors. According to Ed, calling Karl a “bonehead” was not an act of anger, but friendly kidding, even though Karl is frustratingly clueless at times.
Rex, Ed and Ruby’s dog, has always been a faithful companion to Ed. The last while, however, every time one of the cell phones rings, Ed looks at the dog with resentment. Ruby said to Ed, “You act like you are even mad at the dog.”“I’m not angry – just having vivid memories of Rex in a chasing game we had with each other out at the farm,” replied Ed. “He’s getting what he deserves,” muttered Ed. Ruby didn’t know that Ed was referring to the recent incident in which Ed chased Rex around the Quonset trying to get Ruby’s cell phone out of the dog’s mouth.
Do we deserve to be angry? Is our anger in response to what someone else said or did which impacts us? For years I have said, “You/it made me angry.” I realize that makes it sound like I’m a victim and forced by others to become angry. Am I forced to become angry or do I choose to? Do we like to be angry? Can anger get out of hand leading to heated words, physical violence or even murder? Does anger accomplish good or result in our own destruction?
The Bible speaks of anger this way: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. We are told, “Time after time God restrained his anger, for he was merciful and forgave the iniquities of his people.” Repeatedly God is described as “slow to anger, abounding in love.” God does not hold us in his anger because of our sins against him. God deals with us in kindness and compassion. Faith in Jesus means God is not angry with us. Let us not be angry with each other.